October was a Big Month for Miss H; I got a new job and she was starting nursery! It took us a while to find a nursery that we were all happy with. We wanted somewhere fun, welcoming & friendly with staff who make the experience of starting nursery and easy transition for Miss H.
We settled on one close to my work, it is easy for me to drop her off on my way in, its friendly, clean and has separate age related rooms, so we know Miss H would be playing with children her own age.
Starting nursery is a big thing for both the toddler and the parents! It took Miss H a while to settle; she still cries for about 10 seconds now when I drop her off, but I am sure that is just to make a point rather than unhappiness as she’s always happily playing away when I go in to collect her! I am so proud of how Miss H handled starting nursery; she has really grown in confidence and is learning a lot.
Nursery Settling In Sessions:
We started off with settling in sessions. I think this is really important for a child as it gets them used to being left, used to the environment and used to staff in short time bursts rather than being dropped off for a whole session. Miss H had 3 weeks of settling in sessions; starting off at 30 minutes for the first few days then building up to 1 hour. After a few days at 1 hour we added on another 30 minutes. This worked really well for all of us. I did not stay at any of the settling in sessions; the staff recommended that it is a much easier transition if children are used to going on their own. We had a few tours of the setting prior to the sessions so Miss H knew the staff names and layout.
Starting nursery is BIG news for a toddler; expect plenty of emotional outfall. We have had our fair share of tantrums on the nursery mornings! Also expect extra tantrums after pick up too – toddlers have a habit of saving all of their emotions up from the morning nursery session and then venting them all out in the afternoons. Create time and space for this to happen and understand that it is just part of the process!
Choosing A Nursery:
When choosing a nursery, we looked at the following things:
Location: You are going there often so don’t make it somewhere hard to get to!
Flexibility: It is important that the nursery are flexible, consider what would happen if you needed to change days occasionally or work longer on the odd day.
Staff: Are they qualified? How many are first aid trained? Have they built a rapport with your child on the pre-visits?
Policies: Have a good read of their sickness policy, how they deal with allergies etc.
Meals: Does the menu sit nicely with your child’s eating habits? If not, do they let you send a packed lunch?
Activities: Is there a nice balance of structured learning and free time? Are there plenty of stimulating toys and a variety of sensory experiences available?
Price: As hard as it for people to admit, this often plays a huge role in daycare options available! Make sure the nursery you choose is affordable on a long term basis!
Ofsted: Always check the Ofsted website and find out about the settings score and take time to read through the ofsted inspectors comments; if you have any queries or concerns raise it with the nursery manager.
Miss H is really learning a lot at nursery; life skills that we simply cannot teach, such as playing with other children and learning to share with them. I really do think she has made a big developmental leap since starting nursery; it’s as though she has developed a little bit of a sense that the world is bigger than our family!
If your child is starting nursery soon then I hope my post has helped!