I was speaking to a new mum today at a singalong in the local library here in Queens Park and she asked me what to look for when choosing a nursery. So I gave her some tips, which new mums generally don't ask nursery care providers.
I'm a qualified Montessori nursery teacher so I felt I could offer her advice that would be useful for her to know. Of course thinking about it I said to her "I'm going to do a blog post on the topic", which she liked the idea.
Here are my top tips when choosing a nursery:
1. When looking around the nursery, take your time and really focus on cleanliness. Like, are there any cobwebs or are the taps where the children wash their hands clean. Do the restrooms smell generally fresh like they've been cleaned the day before?
Do you get where I'm going here? Cleanliness has to be high on their agenda because your little one will be catching colds and flu from the other children as it is, but do you really want them to be in an environment that is not clean and tidy?
2. Ask about staff turnover. If management treats their staff well then they stay and if they don't they leave and wont be happy to be working with your children.
3. Don't choose a nursery because your friends have chosen one over another. If your gut instinct is telling you that you would be happier with your child somewhere else then go with your gut.
4. Before choosing a Montessori nursery please do a little investigation on what Montessori really is. I have visited a few Montessori nurseries and the running theme is that the children have freedom to do what they like, more like child lead. When the truth of the matter is that Montessori is about teacher leading the way to engage the child in early learning that goes beyond just learning through play and song. It is much deeper. So inform yourself before shelling out high termly fees to a provider that is not pure to the teaching of Maria Montessori.
5. Is a large nursery better than a small nursery? This is a question that I faced when my daughter was starting nursery. For me, I chose to start off with a small nursery because I wanted to have her in an environment where she would have more attention due to the ratio of adult to children in her age group. When she was approaching primary school,around 7 months prior, I moved her up to a bigger nursery so she would get used to the noise factor. lol. I knew primary school would not be quaint like her tiny nursery. It worked to.
She got less colds and wasn't stressed when I collected her from nursery, which is something I noticed my friends children seemed to be, always unwell and full of stories of not being treated nicely. At the end of the day it really is down to what you want for your child when it comes to nursery school it's nobody's business but yours.
6. One final thing, if money is an issue yet you do have extra to spend on education. Why not think about putting away the extra money aside in a trust account or ISA to use further down the line if you are considering private education or discover that your child has a talent for something that will need funds to support.
I hope my top tips were helpful. Thanks for reading.
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I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!