Choosing the right nursery

Hi Mums, this blog is about choosing the right nursery for your child, the different costs involved, what you can hope to get out of nursery and how well your child should be prepared for school, once they have been at nursery.

BUT is a nursery the right choice for you?

Sometimes, children are pushed into nursery too soon because it seems to be the ‘best’ thing to do. I don’t agree… I think your child can learn so much with you and the different groups available for children this age.

Some mums prefer to spend their money, especially if they are “stay at home mums” on different groups and activities instead of nursery. They come to me to help their children with the academic side and it seems a very good way of doing things.

Some of the groups available for your young children are:

  • Music/Singing
  • Tennis coaching
  • Dance classes
  • Martial Arts Lessons

And there are many more! Groups for young children are springing up everywhere and are great ways to occupy your young children if you are a stay at home mum particularly.

If you can deal with the teaching of phonics and pencil control, this may be a beneficial option for you. It allows you to have more time with your child before the pressures of real school begin. If you have to go back to work and you would rather have your child in a home setting, then a child minder will be your best option. But that is a topic for another day.

A full time day nursery does give your child a social life outside of the home and the opportunity to interact with unfamiliar adults. For some clingy children particularly this is important. So if you decide nursery is what you want then, which nursery is right for your child and you?

Parents who have regular working hours are the ones that nurseries tend to work best for, as it’s difficult and sometimes impossible for the staff to deal with unreliable conditions and drop-offs. Most nurseries will open early in the morning and some close late in the evening, but nurseries are flexible as a child-minder or nanny.

On the plus side, very rarely will nurseries be closed at short notice, so you will not get the complications you would with a ‘one carer’, who may be ill or have a sudden family emergency.

For parents who have more than one child, nurseries may be excessively expensive.Some nurseries do offer a ‘sibling reduction’ which may ease the big spending.

So, if your working life can fit around the nursery’s opening hours and if your budget meets the fees, then a nursery is a good social environment with plenty of activities and trained carers, which could be the right environment for your child.

Different options may include;

  • Day nurseries – Great for working parents, as they are usually opening between 8am-8pm.
  • Nursery schools – for older toddlers, usually about 2 and half years and up. These nurseries offer a more structured, preparation for school and often do half days.
  • Nursery classes in School – Usually run for the year before reception, they have a similar structure to nursery schools, though often run in half-day sessions and close during school holidays. They are also cheaper as they are not privately run.
  • Montessori – the Monstessori philosophy informs how their schools are run and they are seen as the originators of child centred learning. There is a focus on developing each child’s independence and skills.
  • Important considerations include:
  • Healthy food and menus
  • Learning programmes
  • Cost
  • Security
  • Ofsted registered
  • Cleanliness
  • Structured or relaxed

How to choose the right nursery?

Think well ahead of the time when it comes to nursery searching as it can take some time. The more confident you are of the choices you make, the happier you’ll be when it comes to the day you have to head back to the office and leave the little one.

  • Asking around and getting the other parent’s views on what nurseries are like in your area.
  • Check the local publications and online sources for example netmums.com
  • Consider if it’s going to be easy for you and/or you partner to do the drop off/collect?
  • First steps are to make an appointment with the nursery that interests you the most. Have a look around and make sure to always go back for a second visit if needed.
  • Asking for the most recent Ofsted inspection report for the nurseries that you go and visit, can help you make an important decision.
  • Ask whether they have any awards/rewards of excellence.
  • Be aware of the quality of both indoor and outdoor play areas. Are the spaces pleasant, bright, welcoming and do they seem safe?
  • Ask as many questions as possible, as your child may be attending the nursery soon. Ask if they have a snack time throughout the day, as well as lunch. What time is lunch served? Are the meals prepared fresh? Or do you send your child in with their own lunch?
  • On your visit, watch how much the staff are interacting with the children and getting involved with the children. How do the staff come across? – Do they seem happy, relaxed, and fun to be around? Do you feel comfortable talking to them? Do they seem interested in your child and his/hers likes/dislikes and interests.
  • Find out information on weekly groups, or story telling sessions. Some of these groups may be adding to the cost of the weekly bill. They might even take the class to the library or park during the day. This shouldn’t cost anything but if it does, then how are they organised? How often do they take place?

If you do find a nursery that you would love your child to attend, then make sure you understand everything that is included in the cost, so you don’t end up paying extortionate prices unnecessarily.

When the parents leave their child is all ok?

  • As your child is settling into nursery, trust your instincts about how well it is going. You know your child better than anyone else.
  • When your child first starts nursery you will find that in the first couple of weeks they will be more tired than usual, as nursery is a big change for them. This can affect your child physically and emotionally.
  • You both you will need time to adjust to the new set-up.
  • When leaving your child, try not to drag out your goodbyes to them – Some parents find this difficult and don’t like to leave their child upset, but it’s best to be quick about it. Don’t hang around as it is torturous for your child.
  • It is very normal for your child to cry when you leave; this is the normal part of getting used to this big change in your lives.

Troubleshooting

Fingers crossed, you will never have a problem with a nursery your child attends, but what happens when there is an issue. As every working parent know, nothing undermines your ability to work more than a nagging suspicion that your child isn’t happy, or isn’t being looked after as well as possible, or even – worse scenario of all – isn’t safe.

  1. If you have any worries at all about your child’s nursery, you must resolve them as quickly as possible.
  2. As soon as it strikes you that things are not right, talk to your nursery manager or allocated member of staff – Many niggles are simply down to a lack of communication. Explain what is up and the chances are, you’ll never have to mention it again, as things will be smoothed over.

End Result

You want a nursery that will give your child the basic skills and abilities they need to be ready to learn well when they start school.

Let me know about your nursery choices on elisagianoncelli@hotmail.co.uk. I would love to know what things are important to you!

Until next time,

Elisa