What to Consider When Choosing Your Child’s Nursery

I have had Molly booked into Nursery for about a year now, but it was mainly to secure her place and if she didn’t like the setting then I would cancel her spot and try somewhere else. I felt quite strongly about the place I wanted her to attend hence I booked her in so long ago, I knew they had a waiting list and I didn’t want to miss our chance. But I have always been open to trying other establishments if Molly felt uncomfortable at this option.

I have been so nervous about her starting any nursery – as things are she is all mine and it’s up to me to shape her personality. She will change so much attending Nursery, developing mentally and physically so it’s so important that I make the right decision.

My nerves have been building over the recent weeks as her start date draws closer but a phone call from her Nursery teacher really helped calm me down, she answered half my questions without me even asking them. She then invited me down to the Nursery for a tour and meeting, giving Molly the chance to meet her key-worker and the other children whilst I am in the same room not to upset her. The teacher knew how nervous I have been over everything and was extremely accommodating offering us more sessions together to build Molly’s confidence and ease my anxiety.

We went for our first Nursery visit this week and I really feel like it was a success. The teachers were very strong within their role and took the time to explain their routine to me and showed me all around the site. Molly was immediately interested in all the activities and went off to play, I stayed close by but tried not to interrupt her so she knew that this wasn’t a place where Mummy plays too. She had moments of being shy and moments of curiosity so we all followed her lead and did what she felt comfortable with. I met with her key-worker who works with a group of children all Molly’s age within the Nursery and plans age appropriate activities for them all. Having a key-worker means she can be extra close with one adult and build a strong relationship together incase she is ever missing Mummy too much. I really liked how the class is split into small groups as I feel this means there is someone always to watch over Molly and she won’t be lost in a class.

Due to my general worry of letting go the class teacher has invited me back with Molly for another session before her start date and this time I will try and be even less involved and maybe leave her alone, the teacher suggested me going off for a cup of tea before coming back in the classroom, to introduce short periods of time where I am not in the room so Molly can start to understand that I will not be with her during Nursery time and we can begin to learn how to be separate from each other. I leave her whilst I go to work but she is in the care of my Mum who she is extremely close with so I have no worries here, whereas a situation like this is completely new. Having multiple taster sessions before her first day is really beneficial to us both and definitely helping with the transition process.

I am so pleased with the Nursery’s understanding with our separation anxiety and their willingness to support us both, it’s made me feel even stronger about their setting. I have been doing lots of research on their other positive points and am feeling really happy with my choice and thrilled that Molly seems comfortable with it too. They have a daily routine including free play, activities, cafe and so on. They have themes and set up different play ideas daily and have use of some amazing facilities including multiple outdoor spaces and soft play, Using the early years curriculum, arranging outings, and with their projects I feel Molly will flourish here.

So when choosing the right Nursery for my child the things I had to consider were:

– Does the Nursery have the right balance between learning and play?

– What is the group set up and relationship with the key-worker?

– Is it a safe environment?

– Do they understand and accommodate our specific needs?

– What ages are mixed together?

– What facilities are available?

– Will the same group of children end up at Primary school together or likely split?

– Do I like the Nursery set up and appreciate their routine?

– Do I agree with the Nursery policies?

– Does Molly and myself feel comfortable?

– Will they support my child and enhance her learning, creativity and growth?

– Can they accommodate my child at the times I need?

I know the answer to all of these questions already and feel very happy with their answers. Molly will always lead the way when it comes to Nursery and if for any reason she changes her mind, then I will follow her choices. But right now I am comfortable with our decision and a part of me is really looking forward to watching her personality and education develop. One day she will go on to school, then college and maybe then University, and her education route starts right here so it is critical that Nursery gives her the best start possible in a fun, playful environment. The other part of me is sad to let go, knowing this is the beginning to shaping her future where she is no longer my little baby anymore.