I’m not sure I’m entirely happy with mine and Ed is moving to another nursery after Easter. The main thing bothering me is that it’s just too busy! Maybe I’m an over-anxious mum (yes!) but I’ll share my thoughts in the hope of getting opinions from others.
Firstly, the positives – Ours is just down the road which makes it very convenient as my mum sometimes picks him up by walking there. Ed has made some good friends and may join them at primary school. He has been going there since he was 11-months-old so there is a level of continuity. The staff are lovely and the food is fresh and homemade on the premises by a wonderful cook.
However, these are the things that bother me – The nursery on some days is at maximum capacity. Ed’s ‘key-worker’ has 19 (!) other children on her list. When we drop him off/pick him up the room is loud and slightly chaotic (can something be ‘slightly’ chaotic?!) If he needs to go for an extra afternoon at the last minute, they can’t fit him in. It’s full! Is there a local baby boom in Cheltenham or something?
Next is staff turnover. Some staff have been there from the start but two of Ed’s key-workers have left since he started. I understand that some people train and then move on but it’s a shame to lose the consistency.
We also had a bit of a problem getting our heads around the ’30 hours free childcare’ offered for 3-4-year olds. Our nursery has a complicated way of working it out across the year (we are only term time) so that you don’t end up saving much.
I’ve spoken to some mothers at the same nursery who agree that it’s busy but believe that it’s good for their child to be mixed with lots of children as this is what they will experience when they join school. However, we have decided to send Ed to somewhere a bit calmer with a smaller child to key-worker ratio. I’m probably going to be one of those mums that schools and teachers can’t stand (I’m a teacher!) who is never happy with anything!
It would be great to hear from other parents about their experiences, especially in other parts of the country. Are nurseries busy everywhere? What is your child to key-worker ratio? Do you have a child-minder instead? It would also be great to hear from others about their views of childcare.