Picking a nursery, school or preschool is always a pretty daunting task when you are a parent. P1 went to a day nursery back when we lived in Essex, P2 went to preschool although it was called a nursery and P3 now goes to the same one. I hope this post maybe gives you an insight when you decide to pick your own childcare provider or preschool for your children.
The Staff Are Older.
In case they read this, I honestly mean this in the nicest way possible. From my experience, a lot of franchise nurseries or full day nurseries tend to have younger, recently qualified staff that use the setting as a way of learning and stepping onto the childcare ladder. P1’s nursery was actually quite the same with regards to younger staff but they key worker was older and actually this really worked for us and P1 at the time. P3’s preschool has older staff who all have their own children, some with grandchildren. Bringing P3 in to preschool each morning honestly feels like we are handing her over to family. They are all equally friendly, experienced and have been there for many many years.
P1’s nursery was a purpose built one. It had set rooms for different age groups, toilet blocks and changing areas. I loved this and was adamant that I wanted that for P2 and of course P3. We visited many and didn’t really acknowledge the option for a non-purpose built one. Then my Mother-In-Law recommended the place that my Brother-In-Law went to. I put both the girl’s names down on the waiting list despite P3 being far too young as they only take the preschool age, 2 and a half years old. This is going to sound really bad but I never viewed the venue until the day the P2 started. It’s inside a church hall, everything is in one room except the toilets obviously, and this works so well for us. I probably would love to segregated rooms again or a modern building with a better outdoor space, but it makes me feel so happy that the venue doesn’t smell of dirty nappies or a little unsocial. With the one room and one drop off and pick up time for everyone, it’s much more sociable and you can actually make friends this way.
Routine and Structure.
A lot of nurseries or preschools, especially for the younger age attending, tend to have a lot of free play going on. P3’s preschool have a really good routine, they have snack time and lessons planned. I love this as it really does prepare the children for school, for learning rules of play and respect for adults too. Of course play is a huge part of P3’s daily life but structure and a routine has definitely helped her to settle and know what is going on each day.
The Day Trips and Performances.
P1’s nursery never did a performance or a day out. Each Christmas, and I’m pretty sure there’s another one too in the year but I honestly am mind blank, they put on a little show for the parents. My hat comes off for the teachers because arranging 2-4 year old’s into a drama performance must be pretty hard but they ace it every single year. The day out trips are brilliant too, we’ve been to the aquarium in Hastings, Nature Reserve and a castle too.
The Online Journal.
This is actually new for this year and P3’s intake of children. It’s an online journal where the teachers add photos each day of your child, or the children, and explain what they’ve been learning or talking about that day. It’s updated every day that your child is in and I just think it’s awesome! I get to have a proper conversation about the things P3 has done and she can tell me all about it too. Previously, P2 had a physical notepad journal that would come home at the end of each term. The online journal also allows you to add photos of milestones or holidays you have at home. It’s a great way to stay in touch both sides. I’d be lost without it now. P1 and P2’s Primary School have also been talking about introducing this very soon so I’m really excited about that.
There are obviously many, many more reasons why I love our nursery/preschool. It’s such a special thing to have a place that you can trust with your child’s life. Writing this and thinking about the time when P3 graduates and moves to big school (not for over a year) makes me honestly tearful. I love seeing the staff each day, forming adult friendships and being a parent rep too… Yes I did that this year too.
If you’d like me to cover other school or nursery related topics please do let me know in a comment below or you can find me on social media too @lwpprincesses