Tuesday, 4 February 2014

The Search for a Nursery School

So the time has finally come to start the search for a nursery school for Daisy, we've decided to start her from just under 3 so that gives us 7 months to get her name down at a place we both like. There are 2 in our village and a couple in the next village so I am going to try and visit them all.

I thought I'd start blogging my visits as a way to note down the pros and cons of each place in a hope it'll make the final decision easier.

The first Nursary we visited is in the next village and I got a really good feeling when I approached, there were lots of children having fun in the garden, all wrapped up in coats and wellies. It was lovely to see the staff weren't afraid of them getting a bit muddy and having a good time.

The staff were really friendly and Daisy obviously felt instantly comfortable. She happily went off to play while I had a look around. The children looked genuinely happy and engaged with lots of different activities to do which would suit all types of children.

Snack - rather than have a structured snack time children are encouraged to have a drink or a snack when they wanted one. There were tables (with a member of staff) where they could help themselves to drinks and fruit. Really liked how they were encouraged to pour own drinks etc.

The Nursery is really flexible in terms of the sessions children could attend and seemed willing to accommodate what I would like. As Daisy is still napping (most days) I would rather opt for morning sessions.

One of the downsides for this place was the distance from home, when we moved out of London I always imagined being able to walk my children to school so the thought of sitting in traffic every morning isn't attractive. It's not a deal breaker though if the place is right.

So this was my first visit but generally I was pretty happy and could see Daisy attending this Nursery, it's blooming expensive but with her funding kicking in shortly after she turns 3 I'm trying not to let that cloud my judgement.

If you're in the same boat as us and on the Nursery / pre school hunt here's a few practical things to consider

- Costs - generally this has been between £12 and £15 per session (3    Hours!!!)
- Funding - after their 3rd birthday (and in some cases after their 2nd) all children are entitled to 15 hours of free childcare.
- Do they accept childcare vouchers?
- Distance - walking or driving
- Snacks - is it healthy? Is it provided?
- Reporting - are there daily diaries, parent days regular parent updates?
- Staff to child ratio, do they have key workers for each child?
- Are the sessions structured, free play or a combination of both?
- Do they provide Lunch / dinner clubs
- Do the children take part in trips, have visitors in, do plays or performances?
- Does your little need to be potty trained?


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