Why can’t I keep up?!
Chunk will be two years old at the end of this month, and I have recently been searching for a nursery- not an easy task! He is entitled to a free place, because I have recently had to become self-employed (so far found no work!) and low income families can access this.
I imagine most parents do what I did; Start by looking at all the ones rated ‘outstanding’ by OFSTED and then quickly find these are all booked up (or stuck up).
I listed these, but then also included ones rated ‘good’ and then looked at which were closest to home, and then booked visits.
I wrote a list of questions, including what’s provided, what qualifications do staff have, what behaviour management techniques are used, what’s their headlice policy etc, and must have looked like a right lunatic when I referred to the list at each place!
I had assumed I would go for an outstanding nursery that ticked all the questions on my checklist, but when we visited all of the nurseries, I focussed instead on how Chunk interacted and presented in each place.
He was timid, clinging to my hand in all of them apart from one, which happened to be one in a not-so-nice part of my city, but it’s close by and easy to get to. It’s rated ‘good’ and is very busy, with children up to age 5. This scared me, but not Chunk.
Chunk was straight in there, diving into all the toys, running into the garden, playing with the water table and talking to other children, and barely remembered I was there!
This spoke volumes to me, and highlighted to me that it doesn’t matter what the ratings are, what qualifications the staff have (to a certain extent)- the priority is to pick somewhere that the child feels relaxed in, so the transition will hopefully be smooth and they will enjoy it, which is PARAMOUNT!
I applied for a place there and we have just heard he will be attending in a few weeks time. Cannot believe this is happening already, but at the same time, his speech and language will probably speed up ten-fold by having 12 hours a week of high stimulation.
Will keep you updated!