My husband and I have discussed nurseries before as I would need to go back to work at some point. At first we agreed that we would send L to nursery when she is 2, but as I struggle to have a little bit of free time to tidy the house, do some washing we have decided that it's time to go to nursery before L turns 2.
I have spoken about this with my mum who advised to postpone it as L would be more prone to illnesses in the nursery than at home, and my in laws offered to help me choose the nursery.
We have picked 3 nurseries which are not far from our house as it is more convenient without a car.
On one of the childcare websites we found that the number 1 nursery from our list has messy play classes every Wednesday for 50p. To check if it's up to date I decided to call them, the lady on the other end of the phone didn't understand me at first, we had a bit of "lost in translation" moment but eventually I found out that it was an old advertisement. Few days later we went to visit the nursery to see if I can get a better feel of the nursery number 1.
I was greeted by one of the staff members who showed me 2 big front rooms and answered some of my questions. Few minutes later the lady who I spoke to on the phone joined us, who presumably is the nursery manager. To my surprise this lady looked very cross and uninterested, I have even tried to make a joke but even then she didn't smile.
She told me that they don't allow kids to attend for 1 or 2 days due to harder settling in, and advise to stay in the nursery for at least 4 days. She has also mentioned that they have 65 kids in their nursery which is the highest amount of children I have heard of. Once we have finished and I turned my back to open the door I was completely ignored as if I wasn't there whilst I stood there for few more minutes trying to work out how to open the front door.
The overall conversation and lack of any customer service made me think that it is not the right place for us at all.
Yesterday we went to see the 2nd nursery which had very good reviews from local mums. I was greeted by the staff member from the baby/toddler floor who didn't hesitate to show me around whilst L was playing with other kids. The first minor negative they didn't ask me to take my shoes off, I would prefer a nursery with "No shoes" policy.
The ground floor had 3 small-ish rooms with lots and I mean lots of toys. I have counted no more than 5-6 toddlers and 2 newborns and 4 staff members including the lady I spoke to. She showed me the outside play area with unfortunately is not in use due to slippery decking ( why would you even consider decking knowing it's a hazard?!) so kids are stuck in this 3 small rooms all day. We were there at the time of a free play which to me looked bizarre, toddlers looked absolutely lost, 2 staff members were holding newborns and didn't pay any attention to toddlers and the other I assume apprentice just set in the corner listening to our conversation.
They showed me lots of documents and policies they need to adhere to, but to me it just didn't have that "yes it's the right place" feel. What surprised me as well is that kids where having naps on bean bags and on a single mattress on the floor, as "they like to sleep whilst holding hands", it sounds absolutely lovely but it is far off from what I imagined nursery should be like.
Regardless of it all L liked playing with kids and toys but unfortunately caught a cold from a little snotty girl, and like my mum said it's not the last cold she will catch if she goes to the nursery.
You may think that with my requirements I will not find the nursery but like any mum I want the best for L.
Now I know what I'm looking for in the next and last nursery and hope our 3rd choice would end up the best choice.