Thursday, 10 October 2013

Nursery Reviews!

A quick review of the nurseries I've worked in recently. Very anonymous of course.
At the end is whether the nursery has decent freeflow/continuous provision inside in the pre-school, then whether they use the garden most of the time (ie NOT "Let's go in the garden for half an hour"), and lastly whether I would send my children there.

A big chain of nurseries:
1. Pre-school unit has bizarre layout which makes everything very hard. Garden is in the grounds but a walk away. Toddler rooms have too many children and not enough ventilation. Pretty much all the staff want to leave.
Freeflow - no
Garden - no
Use it - no

2. Baby and toddler rooms lovely. Good size and sensible amount of children. Pretty nice staff. Pre-school very cramped. A small room which they jammed in as many children as possible, but there is no chance of finding a quiet area. Good garden but a bit hard to access for the older ones. Great for toddlers.
Freeflow - yes, but poorly.
Garden - no
Use it - no

3. A warehouse sized nursery. Massive numbers of toddlers and older babies in their rooms, leading to a distinctly impersonal touch. The gardens for the younger ones have rotas so they don't get too crowded. The pre-school garden is small for the number of children. The open plan building get very noisy and feels hectic all the time. Most of the staff are pissed off.
Freeflow - sometimes, but poor.
Garden - partly.
Use it - no.

4. A large converted house. Baby room ok, toddler room far too many children. Pre-school in a complicated collection of rooms upstairs. Massive garden. The pre-schoolers have a walk to the garden so all have to come out at set times. Staff fairly happy but the managers keep changing!
Freeflow - yes.
Garden - yes, apart from pre-school.
Use it - no.

A different big chain:
5. A new nursery. No place for children's artwork on boards. They have huge photos of happy children instead. Toddler room too many children and very hectic. No easy access for any children into the garden which has some nice features but is half slippery, muddy grass. All looks and not enough focus on the children.
Freeflow - yes.
Garden - no.
Use it - no.

6. A purpose built nursery with large numbers of children. The gardens are very good but rather lacking in things to do in them. There isn't a great deal of equipment  and toys about. The children see the same ones each day. The company seem very tight with money and have banned staff from using backing paper to reduce costs, so most displays look crap. Some areas desperately need painting. Staff all seem very nice and good. This could easily be a much better nursery if funded better.
Freeflow - yes.
Garden - yes.
Use it - no.

Others:
7. A city centre nursery. Baby rooms nice. The toddler room...er...I was there for half an hour and the staff were looking at me to run the room. The staff were leaning against the walls and seemed to consider the children as an inconvenience. At one point after song time a member of staff said they could go and play. Only 2 toys were put out and the staff member said "I wish we had something nice for you all to do, but we don't" and let them get on with it. The staff just couldn't be arsed. There was a garden that you had to cross a car park for.
Freeflow - ? - wasn't in pre-school.
Garden - no.
Use it - NO.

8. A converted house with unit out the back. Set in a large, long garden which gets a lot of use. It's a relaxed and friendly place with a lot of staff for the number of children. It feels very homely. The baby and toddlers rooms are a bit cramped, but numbers are low and an extension is being built for them.
Freeflow - yes.
Garden - yes.
Use it - yes.

9. Town centre nursery with a yard rather than a garden. The small yard means the rooms have a rota for access. The rooms downstairs have high ceilings and too many children which is a very loud combination. Upstairs has no windows to look out of. Many of the staff were terrible, but a lot have left.
Freeflow - yes.
Garden - no.
Use it - no.


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