Having never written an online review before, I felt compelled to respond to the previous 'review' posted online for this nursery.
Before I start, can I please make it clear that I do not direct my critique of the previous 'review' to those sorts who read an online review and a) understand that ANYONE can post a review on the internet b) are not prone to making snap judgements based on single reviews c) understand the distinction between fact and mere hearsay (the recent OFSTED report will make interesting reading) and d) are prepared to make decisions about childcare by visting premises themselves.
First then, a brief response to the author of the previous 'review'.
1. I don't mean to be pedantic, but you can't spell nursery. Enough said on that.
2. Practically force feeding infants or actually force feeding infants? Anyone who is a mother of a small child knows that children go through fussy phases of eating. If a child is making a fuss about eating, it does not automatically mean they are being 'force-fed'. I am happy to report that my children (I have 18 month old twins, both of whom have attended the nursery for over a year now) have never been force-fed, in fact they love the food and eat very well each day.
3. How does the author know the staff did not take contact numbers with them? Apparently they didn't need to contact anyone, so I fail to see how this 'fatal error' was discovered?
4. They fed "a child" who was allergic strawberries? Again, this sounds suspiciously like hearsay as presumably the reference to "a child" would be "my child" if there existed direct evidence of this 'error'. That is even witholding the obvious possibility that the unnamed child's parents had only just discovered the allergy themselves as a result of the nursery feeding strawberries to the child and the subsequent reaction.
5. How do you know that the "constantly changing staff" are not CRB checked? Do you work for the CRB? If so, is it not a bit unprofessional to be sharing the results of these checks on an online forum? If not, again I would posit that this is hearsay.
6. Your child came home with a dirty bottom? My child has come home with a dirty bottom, but I think it was something that happened in the car on the way home!
7. Have you really been told how awful other parents are? Or have you drawn your own ill-informed conclusions based on a passing remark? I would suggest the latter on the basis of the overall tone of your article. Interpretation, or indeed misinterpretation in your case is everything.
8. If the day were not structured and the children "just played" do you not think the recent OFSTED report would have uncovered this basic failure to follow the EYFS framework? (It did not, if you read the report).
So, balance hopefully redressed, can I end by giving my own thoughts on Home from Home nursery? As I said previously, I am the mother of 18 month old twins who have attended the nursery since they were 6 months old and have been full time since September. I have no evidence other than my own opinion which as with the previous review you can choose to disregard if you wish. I can only say that my children love the nursery. They run in every day and give kisses and cuddles to the loving and extremely capable staff. I feel secure and happy leaving my children there every day and find them happy, fed and watered every day when I collect them.
I have recommended the nursery wholeheartedly to two of my work colleagues whose children both now attend the nursery and are equally pleased with the provision.
I hope this review has been helpful, though I would urge you to visit the premises if you are considering Home from Home nursery as a place for your child and see for yourself.
I'm concerned how nurseries can ask for an admin fee to place your child on their waiting list and then you never hear from them again.I paid £15 to put my sons name on Lloyd park nursery (walthamstow),i called a couple of times to check on news of a place and it was made clear to me that they would contact me when a place came up.i never heard from them again,until nearly 2 years later i called them and spoke of this.they just said no place came up,but i know of children of similar ages who were given places even though their names were placed after my child. I don't think this fair.they should atleast stay in contact.
Home from Home nursary is not a nursary I would ever reccommend!
When visiting I watched as they shovelled food into the mouths of children who did not want to eat, practically force feeding them.
Against my better judgment I left my daughter there only for them to take her out, not once but twice, without my permission.
The fist time they took all the children for pizza at a local cafe and did not even take contact numbers with them. Thank goodness they were not needed!
They fed a child strawberries after being told they were allergic.
There are constant staff changes, some I know are not CRB checked.
My child came home on a number of occasions with a dirty bottom.
The staff constantly talk about parents to each other and also to other parents. I have been told how awful some parents are a number of times! No confidentiality!
After parents have left they just let the children play. There is no structure to the day as advertised.
Nurseries in General
When I returned to work after having my daughter I spent a lot of time looking for a suitable nursery. I was distraught at having to leave my baby with strangers whilst I worked. I am writing this review because I found a great nursery from my daughter and am so happy with the service they provide. My daughter loves going and learns lots. I would like other mums to know that with the right nursery your kids can be happy as larry.
Advantages to Nursery-
My daughter gets to mix with children her own age and make new friends.
All the meals are prepared on the premises from scratch with only organic products.
There is a development plan for each child ensuring they get to do all sorts of different learning activities
Each child has a key-worker so that you know exactly who to speak to,
The nursery was purpose build and has three different rooms for the kids. It is well laid out with all the required facilities.
It is set within large gardens so the kids can play outside
All the staff are trained to a high level.
There is high security in place ensuring your child is safe.
It is very expensive. I currently pay £50 per day for childcare.
You have to pay even when your child does not attend (holidays etc) to ensure a place
They do not take your kids is they are in any way unwell
I am very pleased with the nursery I have managed to find and I have spoken to others in the same situation. I think with enough research and investigation everyone can do the same.
Like most mothers I am very protective of my daughter and was very anxious when it came to looking for childcare. We looked at so many nurseries in our area and was horrified at the sub-standard care that was on offer. Some places were dirty, too small and run by unqualified staff. But there was light at the end of the tunnel. We found a perfect place near to us called jigsaw. It is a purpose built nursery and covers all aspects of our childs needs. All the staff are so keen and spend a lot of time putting thought into daily activities. My daughter has access to a computer, a huge garden and a large group of children. They have a chef and a well planned menu with no sugery drinks or CHIPS!!! The first day she walked in and told me to go and has never looked back, yet at other places she was not this comfortable. She is confident and independant and full of stories and tales from her day. Only problem I have is the cost. At £700 a month I expect perfection :) The reason I am writing this opinion is to let all mums who are loking for childcare that it is definatly worth searching for the right place and the perfect place does exist so go look for it.
I knew right from the start of my pregnancy that I would have to return to work fairly promptly. Therefore at 12 weeks pregnant the search began for the perfect nursery. I started by scouring the Yellow Pages, local press and health centres. Before I did anything I made a phone call checking whether they took babies (many don't take them until they are 6 months). Once I had done this I asked them to send out details. Some of the nurseries didn't bother to send me anything at all and were therefore crossed off my list straight away. Others sent poorly presented information and a handful sent the sort of material that I would expect. Then I had the task of sorting through them and deciding which ones to visit. I visited 5 eventually. Four out of the five insisted that I make an appointment to have a look round while the fifth invited me to pop in whenever I was passing. I liked this approach as I felt that I would be seeing the nursery running as usual rather than viewing a stage managed show. I found it useful to arrive a little early and to sit and watch from the car what was going on. You get some indication of the type of area that the nursery is set in and some of the facilities that are on offer. For example you can have a good look at the outdoor play equipment and if you are lucky, see the children using it and assess the level of supervision. I must say at 3 out of the 5 nurseries I was very concerned about the standards of care. When you go into the nursery you need eyes in the back of your head to take in everything before you. I was particularly concerned by some of the sleeping arrangements for the babies. Check that there is a baby monitor in the room if it is unsupervised - I found that there sometimes wasn't. When looking around one nursery a toddler was very upset in his cot and nobody had heard him until the owner showed me into the room. Check also that there are adequate numbers of co
t. Some nurseries put children to sleep in their car seats on the floor - one child was positioned behind a swing door that I opened and I didn't see him there! Ask how often they change the bedding, my son's nursery change it after each child has been in it or I can send in his own. Some simply change it at the end of the day. Look carefully at what they do with the babies, are they stimulated? Many were just sitting on the floor without any toys. My son has been painting, playing in sand and playing instruments since he could sit up! A good nursery will have plans on display showing what the child will do on each day of the week. Check out the toys, are they appropriate for your child? Do they have baby gyms? Some nurseries are very badly resourced for babies. Look carefully at the staff. Are they very young? Are there enough mature staff on duty? Ask about their training. How many Nursery Nurses are there? How many students do they have in the nursery at once? I actually train Nursey Nurses as part of my job as a teacher. At one of the nurseries that I visited there was a girl working there who I had failed as a student because she could not control her temper with the children! Obviously she was taken on because at 17 years old she was cheap labour. My sons's nursery has a good age range amongst the staff. Some are Grandma's themselves which is lovely as they can offer you advice and reassurance when you need it. They also take on male Nursery Nurses which is great for the children to have a good male role model. Look at the menus that the nursery provides. Is it made up of junk food or does it offer your child the opportunity to develop his/her tastes? Ask to look at where the babies bottles are kept. If the fridges are clean the nursery will be willing to show you. Look carefully at the changing area. One nursery changed the babies over the fridge can you believe? The changing area s
hould be spotless and at my son's nursery you can see into it. You therefore know that there are no opportunites for abuse to take place. Ask what your child needs to bring to nursery. Most have baskets to keep things in and a coat peg for bags. Don't forget to check whether nappies and milk are provided in the price. Also check out how much holiday leave your child can have each year, it is round about 2 weeks. You must also ask about illness and if there is a period where you don't have to pay. Talk to the children when you go. Are they busy? Look at their behaviour and see how the staff deal with any challenging behaviour. Read the posters around the nursery, it will give you a good idea about the type of activities the children do and the parental involvement. Ask the nursery how they communicate with parents. My son has a book that staff write in each day. It is all written from his view point and tells me what he has been up to. I love reading it each evening and it will be treasured for many years to come. Ask to look at the OFSTED report which will let you see what the inspectors made of their visit to the nursery. There will be a copy on display somewhere in the building. A good nursery will be delighted to show it to you. You can also access these on the internet try searching for 'Ofsted' and then look up private day nurseries. You have to enter the authority that the nursery falls under, this is usually the town and then you can read online. You will have a gut feeling about the right place for your child. If you narrow it down to a couple, ask to revisit them or pop in as you pass! Ask to speak to other parents, I offer myself to the nursery I use as a reference. Book your place as early as possible, nurseries get booked up so quickly. When baby arrives take him to have a look round, this offers you the opportunity to check it out again 6 months on. A word of
warning here things can change in that short time! The original choice that I made for my son turned into the nursery from hell in that period! Basically they had employed lots of very young staff and they didn't have the experience required. I moved him after 3 days there! If you are not sure, it is not the right place and don't hesitate to withdraw your child. Nurseries are very costly. You need to see how much deposit is required and how much notice is needed to terminate the contract. If you don't like the nursery, withdraw your child immediately. It is usually much more expensive for under 2's as they need a higher staffing ratio (3:1 I believe). Check that there seems to be adequate numbers of staff around. Look at the location of the nursery. Is it going to add too much time onto your working day to get there and back? Can you drop baby off there and still get to work on time? After all this you can go to work confident that your child is well looked after. My son loves every minute of nursery and it has made him very sociable and pleasant. Don't beat yourself up about leaving your child you are doing it so that you can afford a decent standard of living remember which will benefit your baby!
So you've just had a baby and one of the first things your mother or in-laws say to you is " I hope you will be sending my grandchild to a good school" You are flabbergasted. A good school ?...you ask yourself. Here you sit, just barely out of hospital, still in pain from those stitches, engorged breasts and bleary eyed from night feeding, you haven't even thought about what to have for dinner let alone what school to send them to when they get older. You just want to enjoy your child as a baby first before sending them packing off to school. Or do you? So when is the best time to think about schooling for your child? Well in a nutshell as soon as possible really. Its one of those things which should be looked into when you fall pregnant and monitored after your child's birth. It also depends whether you intend to go back to work, whether they will be put into a private nursery very young or whether you believe that schooling shouldn't be started until the appropriate age, which is 5 yrs old. All these questions and more arise when thinking of your child's education. But do we really think about it as soon as that? Well of course not. ..but perhaps we should. Initially your child's education starts when your baby is born. From the first cooing noises and smile to walking and first words, your child is constantly learning about who they are and the world we live in. We are, as parents, the best teachers are child could ever have but there does come a stage where we are not as exciting as are children once thought. Children learn best from a varied environment and play schools and nurseries give them that variety they need. You do not legally have to send your child to school until they are 5 yrs of age and even then if you wanted to go for private tuition then the local authority couldn't stop you either. But with the help of us parents, these places can take our children to better and higher places. Em
otionally, physically and mentally a good start can make all the difference. So what sort of choice can I give my Pre school child? There are 3 different options, play school, private nursery and state nursery. Play school is often a locally run group through a community centre, churches and libraries. These group are usually run by parents and acquire a small fee, anything from £1.50 per session. The sessions themselves run for 2 hrs and are held either in the morning or afternoon, two days a week. You can either stay with your child or leave them but the end result is that they should settle and let in the care of the carers which run the group. Play schools facilitate children from 21/2 yrs to 5 yrs and do not necessarily have to be toilet trained when they start. Private nursery This option is open to those who are going back to work. I would say that it was for the higher paid parents but that's not necessarily true. Its not the cheapest option if you are going back to work but often parents think its the best. Personally, if I had to go back to work, I would choose a child minder, but that's a whole new opinion. For private nursery you have to pay a fee all depending on hours you want you child there for. You can have mornings, afternoons, all day and some offer early evenings too. Everything is provided for your baby or child including nappies and meals if staying all day. Private nurseries tend to take children from a very early age till they start school. State nursery Until a few years ago, children were excepted into state nursery the term before they were four years of age. Intakes were Christmas, Easter and September. So initially if your child's 4th birthday is in December, they should start around September term. Or if they have not enough spaces , they would start at Christmas. Now as the government has given local authorities more funding, children can now start nursery
as young as 3 years old, although the average age is about 3 ½ . This again has 3 intakes Christmas, Easter and September, so all depending when your child's birthday is determines roughly when they go. State nurseries are usually attached to a school in which it is easier to register them into reception (full time) classes and onto school. Each session morning or afternoons are 2 ½ each and the class holds between 18 and 26 children. State or school nurseries are run by a trained teacher and a trained assistant usually holding an NNEB qualification. I have given a rough overview to what choices there are for pre-school learning but the opinion really is about what to look for in choosing a good nursery. I would say that whichever you choose, even though I am going to concentrate on state nurseries. I would look for what I'm about to say in this opinion in ANY of the options and even when it comes to choosing schools. How do I find out about nurseries in my area? Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find out which nurseries and schools are the best. Ask friends who have older children, ask your health visitor but you can phone your loca; social services department and get a list from them. Don't forget that just because there is a nursery right on your doorstep, it doesn't necessary mean its the best one. I have a car and I have 4 primary schools near me which have nursery facilities. All within 20 mins of walking or 5 mins by car. I chose the one probably furthest away from me. Why? Because the school as well as the nursery has an excellent reputation. Which brings me to my next point. As well as checking the nursery make sure the infants and junior part of the school are upto your standard. Its no good taking your child to a brilliant nursery if its not going to be followed though the rest of their school years. Id rather send my child to a school that has a good all round reputation than to take t
hem to a brilliant nursery but having to pull them away from friends if the education they were getting at the juniors was rubbish. After finding the nurseries available in your area its best to phone and speak to either the head of the school or someone who deals with intakes. Write down any questions you can think of before hand and then you can ask away while on the phone. You can also ask if they do a leaflet or brochure and could they send it to you. Whichever way you get your information either over the phone or through the brochure you should look out of a few things. Did you get to learn all you wanted to know? Did you get told what the nursery aims to achieve with your child? Did you get told about the qualifications and roles of the staff? Did you get told of the range of activities offered? What about support for the individual child? Did you get told how you will be kept informed about your child's progress? What about parent/goveners meeting? How you can get involved and support the nursery? These questions are important because the more you find out about how the nursery runs, the happier you will be in leaving your child. What to look for when visiting a nursery? When you have decided on which nursery is appropriate, you can go and pay them a visit. This is especially important to see the comings and goings of how a nursery works. You can go on your own but its best to take your child with you so they can get used to the surroundings. Nursery is slightly more structured then a play group so its important that your child can follow simple instructions. Try and visit when they are already in session. This gives you and your child an idea on how it works and what to expect. Don't worry if your child seems to cling onto you. Just take it easy and show then the many interesting things that are on offer. Many nurseries have books which are displayed cover showing rather than spine showin
g. Nurseries also have a topic area which could be anything from colours to animals. For example at my daughters Nursery they are doing about the cycle of a frog. Its amazing what links up with this. Colours, how the tadpoles grow into fog, nursery rhythms and so on. I found that asking myself these questions when visiting the few nurseries I had chosen helpful as it made up my mind on which one to send my daughter. Are you made to feel welcome when you visit the nursery? Do other parents that arrive with their children appear happy in leaving their child there? Ask them how long their child has been going and what they think. Remember word of mouth is the best source. Do the children appear happy when arriving? You always find the odd one or two children who kick and scream when their parents leave them. Do not take this as a judgement of the nursery but watch how the staff calm them down and deal with the situation. You will find that within 5 mins that screaming child will be running about as happy as Larry. Sometimes it can be caused by showing off, or because that child is slightly under the weather. Is the nursery environment attractive? Is there examples of the childrens work up on the walls? Do the other children know routines that have to be followed? For example each child is given a name card which has their name and an animal in a colour. Each child has a different one so they can recognise where their own coats, bags go. Also within my daughters nursery, she has to go and find her name on a card which she has drawn a picture of herself and put in on the board to tell the teacher she is here. She then sits on the carpet waiting quietly. Look for a wide range of activities that your child can do. Remember that these activities could cover certain criteria. Basic maths, literacy, knowledge of the world, creativity, and physical play should be offered. Look for an area for messy play or creative play usually stickin
g, cutting, clay or painting. An area for early writing activities and some nurseries have a computer with a basic paint workshop program installed on it. A role play area for dressing up and acting out different roles. I.e. fire person, post person, police person. An out door play area with cycles or tricycles and climbing activities. An area for sorting, matching and early number activities What is the relationship between the staff and the children? Is it productive? One of the aims of nursery is to encourage children rather than direct them. This develops independence and although my daughter has only been attending Kilnhurst Nursery for 3 weeks now, I have seen her develop this. Are the children well behaved? How are they spoken to by the staff? What refreshments are available? Can they help themselves or do they sit down together? Can you see your child being happy at this nursery? There is a few more point which I feel the need to bring up that is vital to which nursery you place your child in. Health and Safety. Things like what happens in a fire drill How is good hygiene assured when using the toilet, What happens when your child is ill whist at nursery. Who can gain access to the nursery and how? Behaviour. Does the nursery have an official behaviour policy? How do staff deal with poor or disruptive behaviour? How are parents involved, if their child's behaviour is poor? How is good behaviour rewarded? All these questions should be enough to see if your child will be happy and whether he nursery lives up to you expectations. Once you have decided which one you want your child to go to then you should put your name down on a waiting list, if you haven't already done so. There is nothing wrong with putting your child's name down on 2 or 3 nursery lists if you cant make up your mind but ultimately your child can on
ly go to one nursery. Once you have done all this its just the case of waiting for a letter telling you when your child will start. That will all depend on the child's birth date, places that are made available by children moving upto reception class, and the capacity of the nursery. Sometimes if someone has chosen at the last minute that they do not wish their child to go to that nursery and you are next on the list, then your child might go slightly earlier than planned. This happened with Jess she was wasn't due to start nursery until September, but due to a few children moving up and some not going, she started in May after we returned from holiday. Incidentally after this year some children could be started full time reception classes a little earlier. Apparently the government has decided to cut out the Easter intake so there will be only 2 intakes a year, Christmas and September. So you could find your child starting full time school not long after they are 4 instead of 4 ½ to 5 yrs of age. I think at this age it might be a little too young to be away from home all day and certainly very draining for the child. But again one of the aims of pre-school learning is to ease them into being away from home all day in preparation from school. So as long as your child is generally happy with the idea of going full time then that's fine. If you have any worries about them going full time then see one of the nursery staff and they could suggest that as long as it doesn't hold their learning back, they could stay part time a term longer. I really hope this has been a help to any of you who are thinking about placing your child into nursery or have indeed just had a child and have had that unearthly question put to you by your own parents. Either way the sooner you decide on what sort of education you can give your child the better. A child learns the most in the first 4 years of their life and only a small amount is learned from the
ir parents. Give your child the best start that they could have, ease them into school by taking them to nursery. I promise you, it is worth it.
5 Months ago I would have been looking for tips about choosing a nursery school as I was in the unenviable throes of finding one for my eldest child. Now I did not relish looking for a nursery (I think I found the thought of approaching schools quite intimidating) so I put it off and put it off and all the time it was playing on my mind, that this was a job that really needed doing - NOW! So 9 months before my sons 3rd birthday I pulled my finger out and started proceedings. NURSERY EDUCATION IS FREE FOR OVER 3'S It won't cost you anything to put your child into LEA (Local Education Authority) Nursery from the age of 3 - That DOES NOT necessarily mean that when your child turns 3 you can put them in nursery - it doesn't work like that. GET ON THE LISTS Depending on where you live and population figures and school availability, you need to think about nursery quite early. I left it really late, but luckily there are a lot of places available in my area. If you are set on a particular school get their name down early - it is however worth knowing that some schools won't put a child on the waiting list until they turn a certain age (normally 2 years). LOOK AROUND I made appointments to visit 3 different school nurseries in my area. Before I went I asked around to get peoples general ideas on the school. One woman I knew had had her children at 2 of the schools on my list and was happy to give me her thoughts - however don't be blinkered when you visit a school - one school that the woman did not rate - actually turned out to be my favourite and Joes too, depsite me being determined to find fault! WHAT TO ASK AND TO LOOK OUT FOR ON YOUR VISIT . Do the doors have a secure entrance - a lot of schools have buzzers now. . Is the school bright and friendly looking - are the students work displayed on the wall, is there a themed project anywhere that
you can see? - its nice to see the sort of work that the school is producing. . What is the ratio of teachers/assistants to children - this can be very different from one school to the next, make sure that you are happy that your child will have the attention that he/she deserves. . Do you like the teacher/assistants - fist impressions count for a lot - is the teacher approachable and do the children seem happy to approach her? . Do the children look happy? If they do yours will too! . What sort of activities do the children do? Is there messy play, outdoor play, a themed project, book area etc. Ask what sort of structure the day follows and do they follow the national curriculum for nurseries. However remember that nurseries are play based, the day should be 90% filled with structured and unstructured play. . What are the hours of the nursery? Again this changes from school to school. Its a personal choice whether you prefer your child to attend full time part time, morning or afternoon - but nurseries rarely cater for personal choices so choose one that has a time to suit you! . Take your toddler with you. The teacher should be happy for your child to join in for 15 mins or so and its a good chance for you to see what they think too. . Ask about whether the school has a bullying policy. How do they discipline rowdy toddlers - is there a time out policy. Make sure that you are happy with their arrangements. . Ask if the ages 3-5 are mixed or if they have older ones in the morning and younger ones in the afternoon or vice versa - if you have a timid 3 year old you may prefer him/her to mix with just the younger children. . Can they take your child? When can they start? This all depends on their age and when their 3rd Bithday falls, children born before September will be taken in the usual September intake, any children younger than this will be taken as spaces arise
, but this can be as late as the next years intake - ask what the schools policy on this is. If you like the school then put you name on the list ASAP - this normally involves filling in an application form and showing your childs birth certificate as proof. Ask when you will be notified if they are going to offer you a place or not. This is handy becuase you will get offers at different times, the school I least liked offered me a place first and wanted an answer quickly so I needed to ring the other schools to ask if they would be offering too! Try not to be stressed about the task - its not a long job - and the sense of relief when you have them enroled is emmense! Oh and don't be put of by stroppy receptionist!!!!
I will start off by saying sorry if this opinion is in the wrong place but here goes.My son who will be three in april and attends nursery three days a week monday,wednesday and friday starting at ten am and finishing at three thirty pm.At nusery he paints,draws,plays out,watches television and reads books. Since he started nusery his speech has really improved as he has a speech problem his eating habits are better as he does not eat a lot at home and has made a lot of friends.Me myself get on great with the teachers and if I have a problem they deal with it straight away.I think attending a nursery can work wonders for your child. As parents you are the first and most important teacher however from as early as two and a half a child may take his/hers first steps on the path to "big school".There are a number of options avaliable depending on where you live.The choices are pre-schools day nurseries,state nursery schools and classes and independant (or private) nursery schools. The curriculum meaning a programme of learning refers to the planned activitys and expierences.There is no formal curriculum for children under three although most nurseries are currantly working towards the goverments desirable outcomes for four year olds (replaced in september 2000 with early learning goals or ELGS).The ELGS form the basis of a foundation stage of curriculum for three to five years olds and set out the achievments that most children are expected to have by the end of there reception year. The foundation stage is also meant to overlap with key stage 1 of national curriculum(for five to seven year olds)to ease the transition to infant school.The ELGS are based in six areas:personal,social and emotional,devolpment,language and literacy,mathamatical devolpment,knowledge and understanding of the world,physical devolpment and lastly creative devolpment. Most children will have a member of staff(a key worker) who monitors the
re progress and reports to parents.While almost all pre-schools recognise the importance of play in learning many will introduce more formal tasks for older children who will show an interest in learning to read and write.While children can move from one activity to another as they please there will also be structured activites avaliable and oppitunities to come togeather in small groups. There will generally be a theme such as food,our bodies or travel running over a few weeks-often with a seasonal aspect taking in various festivals.Childrens work should be displayed for all to enjoy.
The government have now decided that a child's pre-school years are an excellent time for them to learn. From the age of 3, children love to learn and will absorb new information like a sponge. For this reason, the government have invested a lot of money in getting free places for 3 years old at nurserys. Most county councils will offer limited places for four year old but as the money starts to flow, more and more nurseries are taking on 3 year olds. The Monday after my eldest daughter had turned three, she could go to her posh new nursery. This nursery had just opened in September and is attached to a local primary school. She goes every morning from 9 - 11.30. Some people may be suprised by the amount of hours she does but she throughly enjoys it (even though she doesn't always admit it!). Life at home can be very boring to a 3 year old. It always seems to be raining so they cant go out. Daddy is always at work, mummy is always either doing housework or is on that computer. Not much to do really but watch tele!! As Jessica's nursery is part of a primary school, they are regualy checked by OFSTED and they have to prove that the children are learning what is stated in the criteria. I was amazed how much there is but it ranges from the basics of maths and english right upto learning about geography and religion. They also greatly encourage independence, which I hope will be a great bonus for Jess when she starts school. Since Jess has started nursery she has become much more confident in what she says and does and is as eager to learn at home as she is at nursery. Just because these places are free, it doesn't mean that the children are just shoved in a corner to watch tele!! All nursery are registered and will be inspected on a regular basis. To check to see if there is a nursery near to you offering free places, check with your county council and they should be able to send you a list
with all participating nurserys. Its worth remembering that children need a break from their parents as much as parents need a break from their children so make the most of it!!!
I had to return to work when my little man was four months old. As my husband is in the forces and often away and we are based away from our families a family member looking after my son was impossible. My workplace run a subsidised nursery onsite. Perfect. Unfortunetly the waiting list was huge (as are most nurseries as I found) I placed myself on the waiting list when I was eight weeks pregnant. I have eventually gained a placement now my son is ten months old!! A very long wait. In the interim I had to place my son in another nursery which wasnt as close to my work, fortunetly I was given a subsidy for having to use another nursery while I was on the waiting list. Having now experienced two different nurseries, I feel qualified to voice an opinion on this form of childcare. I know that some believe staying at home is for the best, but in a lot of cases (mine included) returning to work is a necessity not a choice. What I like about the nursery environment are the strict guidelines that have to be met to be registered. Every nursery is inspected by a local health visitor (my work one happens to be visited by my sons hv which is doubly reassuring for me) they also have to meet a national curriculum, set out by the government for pre schoolers. Things as simple as social development to language development. Obviously depending on the childs age. The nursery my son attends now have a 'key worker' system, thats a nursery nurse assigned to look after your child soley for that day. This enables both myself and my son to build up a good relationship with his keyworker. I know and trust the person who will be looking after him all day. The nursery also have in place a diary scheme. Every day it is written in by your key worker, who cover every aspect of your childs day at nursery from what he did to what he ate, how long he slept for and his mood that day. My son has simply thrived at nursery. He is happy to go off in the
mornings, whilst still being happy to see mammy at hometime. He loves interaction with other children and treats his 'key worker' nursery nurse as a favoured aunt. This is all vital reassurance that every working mum needs before leaving her child. I would recommend to any parents who are considering this form of childcare to firstly get on the waiting list. They are long so it is worthwhile getting on early. Also arrange to visit the nursery so you can see first hand what the nursery is like before you decide. Go with a list of questions ie discipline policies, food preperation etc. Remember you will be paying them to look after your child. In affect you are interviewing them, although it can feel the other way around sometimes!! Finally good luck, that first morning when you leave them at nursery (particularly if your child is still a young baby) will probably be harder on you. Me? I cryed all the way to work, jumped on my phone everytime it rang... Picked my little darling up, to be told he had, had a great day barley noticing I wasnt there!!!! But at least I know hes happy when I go to work.
Exactly who do you trust to take care of your child,if like me you need to work. Good question..... When I had My first child fourteen years ago,I had a partime day job,so I needed to leave My son in the care of someone else to enable Me to do this. A friend recommended a local childminder who I visited first,everything seemed fine at the time.I had to pay £1.50 an hour which at the time seemed reasonable.So I put My trust in this lady. After a month of My son going there He began to say things like if a child was naughty He had to stand in the corner for ages.Or this lady smacked them.I asked if He had been smacked but apparently He hadnt.Thank god! When My son first went to this childcarer She was only looking after three children,but within two weeks there was seven,I began to wonder how She had the time to spend amusing that amount of children,especially as they were of different ages,and also wondered if this amount was in fact legal.I did find out that it wasnt legal at all. I also started to worry that maybe He wasnt being cared for properly and didnt relish the thought of leaving Him there at all. When I picked Him up one day I found Him lying asleep on the kitchen lino floor.This lady said He had been there for an hour and a half.I was horrified and immediately gave up work,so I didnt have to leave Him with anyone else.I felt very guilty for a long time after and hated myself for putting Him into that situation.I couldnt possibly trust anyone else to look any of My children again and that stayed with Me until last year. My fourth child Jacob seemed like a lost sheep,wandering around sucking His thumb and cuddling His blanket,He didnt really want to play with Me He just missed His brothers and sister as they all now went to school. I decided He needed other children's company,so began to look around at the local nursery school's. I have found a brilliant one for Jacob,He's been going there
for a year now, Hes like a changed child.He originally went there for a day and a half a week now its two full days. I totally trust all the people that work in this Nursery I walk away feeling at ease that I know He is being well cared for.His learning has come on in leaps and bounds and His imagination is developing well. He paints great pictures is learning the letterland Alphabet,makes models and now eats lots more of His dinner than He did before.They are also very hot on good manners which is nice to see. For this I pay £44 a week its an awful lot of money but I feel that I am paying for quality care. He runs in to the nursery happy and is still happy when I pick Him up,that's a good enough sign for Me to know all is well here. You have to be able to trust wholly the person who is to care for your child,you have to be 100% happy and so does your child. In this day and age you hear so many horror stories about childcarers,like abusing the children both sexually and physically,leaving them to fend for themselves and like My first experience people who think its right to leave a two year old asleep on a cold hard floor for an hour and a half. If your not 100% happy dont leave them keep on looking for the right place.
I sent my son to a private day nursery when he was 21/2 years old when I went back to work full time, and as all mums I was nervous for him and I even shed a few tears. It was an excellent nursery with expensive fees and I couldn't fault it for the teaching,creativity and the educational benefits for the children. He had been going for about a year and was quite happy until I found he wasn't looking forward to going in the mornings. I trusted my instincts and I stayed a bit longer and watched him as he set about his usual tasks upon arrival. I must admit that I felt uneasy about a new lady that had started working there but didn't think anything of it. She was always chatty to the parents and welcomed the children with a huge smile. My son never said hello to her as he did the other staff, again my instincts kicked in. That afternoon I decided to finish work and pick him up much earlier than the usual time. I went in as I normally did to collect him, and on approaching a classroom I heard this lady shouting at him and he was very upset. It was tea time and all of the children were sat at their tables having a sandwich and a drink. She looked up and saw me standing there and was extremely shocked, she stumbled over her words to give an explanation. Apparently he had made his sandwiches squishy by squeezing them to make them soft(something which I didn't think unusual for a 3 year old!) He wasn't making a mess so I couldn't see the problem. I asked to have a word with her and asked her how many other times had she spoken to the children in this manner, I could sense she was lying.I was furious that she was always so nice for public appearances yet was so horrible when we had left.From that day on she was completely different I believe other parents also made a complaint to the owner of the nursery and she was spoken to. I was upset to think I had trusted the staff to take care of my son and he was made to
feel so humilated at such a young age. I'd advise all parents to follow their instincts if you feel uncomfortable with a member of staff then I'd suggest you do what I did and arrive early, you are well within your rights to know how your children are being treated. I strongly believe that children need to learn discipline but they also need to be shown understanding and compassion too. If the staff are picking at the children for such minor things then they shouldn't be working there. Since writing this opinion I have had another baby.I don't know if it was because of this experience or reviews I have read about child minders but I feel worried to leave her with anyone else. I contacted the local authority and they were brilliant with their advice on child minders, they too said to trust my instincts and visit the house on different times of the day and judge for myself. Ask if they mind if I contacted other mums and asked them for their opininon. Check their certificates, insurance and playing facilities. Take the child with you, their reaction will answer a lot of the questions for you. Don't tar all of the child minders with the same brush, it's the bad apple that has spoiled the bunch.
Before I start I shall give you fair warning that you may find my views on childcare a little contentious! As a 'stay at home mum' I've chosen to 'do without' in order to provide my children with the best possible start in life. I firmly believe that whilst you can pay someone to take care of your childs physical needs you cannot pay someone to love your child. No-one knows your child better than you and no-one is better equipped to take care of your child than you! Whilst I recognise that 'staying at home' often places severe short term financial constraints on the family ( it IS short term because after the age of 5 they'll be at school anyway ) as a whole I really don't believe that this should deter someone who has chosen to be a parent from fulfilling that role! That is not to say that I believe pre-school children should never step foot in day care! At around the age of two most children positively want and need to integrate with their peers in order to develop appropriate social skills, BUT they still need positive time alone with their parent and full-time day care deprives them of this. I have three children and they have all been very different. My eldest is now eight and was not mentally mature enough to cope with time away from mum until he was three. When he did feel ready to go I decided to take a part-time course at college. I booked him into the college creche and started my course. He went two half days a week. I remember the first day vividly, he happily wandered off to play and I was left in floods of tears! My point is he was ready to go and was happy to go! There is nothing more disturbing than seeing young children having screaming fits because mum/dad is leaving them in an alien place of which they are afraid - I've seen it happen and I know it happens. My second child also started nursery at the age of three. In actual fact he was ready to go a lot earlier! ( being a second ch
ild he is a lot more outgoing! ) but the nursery I had chosen for him had a very strict policy of not taking children any earlier because, like me, they believe that before that age most children are not ready. They also had very strict rules about how many sessions children could attend! My son started off with two mornings a week, after six months with no problems this was increased to three mornings. He is now four and from January will attend 5 mornings a week. My third child isn't old enough to attend nursery yet but when he is he will be going to the same place that his older brother attends now. Choosing appropriate daycare is a very difficult decision. Personally I would have been unhappy leaving my children with a childminder. Whilst there are very good ones out there it is all to easy to get on the council register and there is very little follow up care - council departments are forever cost cutting and follow up checks are relatively rare unless complaints have been made. If you are considering a child minder then you must first check they are registered, then ask to see letters of recommendation ( follow these up - they could be fake ), ask plenty of questions and make sure you have a very good look around the environment in which you will be leaving your child. Wherever possible ask other parents for advice, if you are very lucky you may find someone who can recommend a carer through first-hand experience. Nursery care tends to be very structured and great for older children. If you are planning on sending a younger child then check that the facilities are adequate, never send a young child to a nursery that doesn't have a seperate rooms according to age. Older children are invariably boistrous and this will upset a younger child who likes to sit quietly and play alone. When I chose my current nursery I did so for a number of reasons. Firstly I knew parents who had children there so was able to get relatively imparti
al advice. Secondly it was near to the school that my children would later be attending - which meant that the majority of children attending would all be destined for the same primary school. And thirdly because it was a non-profit making ( amazing I know! ) nursery run by a church charity. That's not to say it was cheap - I just paid over £100 for this half term - but my child is in a class of eight with one qualified teacher and two qualified carers!! I think most parents will find choosing day care difficult. Don't be tempted to opt for whatever's nearest! Take time to visit as many as possible. Don't plan visits - see if they are happy to have you spot check! A nursery with nothing to hide should be quite happy to fit you in! When visiting use all your senses, pay attention to how the other children look and how the carers handle them, ask about staff/child ratios. Pay attention to hygiene, the list is really endless! Basically use your head, don't be prepared to take second best and plan ahead - the good nurserys tend to have waiting lists! Update! Would you believe it! I still forgot to mention something!!!! Be very careful if your child has allergys! My sister recently had a major wrangle with the nursery her daughter attended when she found out that she had a peanut allergy - the nursery refused to keep essential medication on the premises and none of the staff were trained to administer potentially life saving treatment in the event of an emergency! If your child has any medical condition then you need to check their policy!
...was the first day I left my precious baby in the care of a stranger. I worked until I was 8 months pregnant with my daughter and vowed not to work until she was at least two. As it happened we found it extremely hard getting by on my partners wages. Originally I only went back two days a week but it turned out that we were actually worse off than when I was at home. I took the plunge and accepted a fantastic new job. I looked around for a nursery near where I live, and got the choices down to a shortlist of two. Both seemed fine but my gut instinct was to go for the second one. It was £20 a day more than the first but you cant put a price on peace of mind while leaving your baby. I work five days a week and my baby, Megan goes to her Grandmas for two days and nursery the rest. The first day I took her to nursery was a nightmare, for me not for her, I couldn't stop thinking about the decision I'd made and had a tremendous feeling of guilt. When I collected her from nursery that afternoon I was met with reassurance from the lovely staff who presented me a detailed account on what Megan had been up to, as well as various polaroids of Megan having fun making new friends and having fun! She started nursery when she was 8 months old, she is now 11 months old and I have now got used to it. She is doing really well and seems to thoroughly enjoy her time at nursery. The hardest thing about her being there is that there is obviously a lot of things that I miss about being with her every day, thankfully I witnessed her first step and first words. It is hard to only have limited time with her during the week but I more than make up for it at weekends. Words can't express the look on her face when I get to nursery to pick her up...when she notices me, she flings her arms in the air, has a beaming face and covers me in kisses shouting 'mama'. I am satis
fied that I made the right decision going back to work, but I can't deny its been the hardest decision Ive ever made.