At Infinity, most of our committee and volunteers have had a child and they have all encountered different paths when it comes to 'childcare'. Laura Walker, Co-Founder, talks to one of our committee members who has shared their different childcare options that her son had before starting school.
"Due to family circumstances, he did not need to attend any nurseries or childcare outside of the family before his 2nd birthday. So when I went back to Part time work outside of the home, I picked two very different settings. Neither had been on my ‘top priority’ list but this was pre covid, so I was able to visit lots of different settings and had the flexibility to send him any days and times.
He did a year (two mornings a week) at Fennies in Horley and one morning a week at Portfield Farm Nursery in Outwood. The settings could not be more different. One was brand new and had a very ‘school’ feel about it. He had a key worker, but all children were in same room (there were babies, toddlers and preschool rooms) with different staff supporting the children. The other was more childminder set up with fewer children and staff, very much outside education and he learnt to safely use tools and explore many things ‘forest school’ now teaches many children.
It took him a few weeks to settle into both settings as this was the first time he had experienced being looked after by anyone not in his immediate family. As a parent the hardest thing to do is to leave a crying/screaming child in the care of a stranger so ask questions, do research, and keep in touch with them. Remember, though, as hard as it is – be as upbeat and smiley in front of your child (I bawled my eyes out in the car after leaving him!). Every child is different, and some will not look back or cry at all.
After a year, my work situation changed and so the childcare had to also change. He then went to Charlwood House Day Nursery in Lowfield Heath one day a week and two mornings a week to Langshott Ladybirds (a nursery attached to a local primary school in Horley). Again, the settings and staff were quite different, and he made friends and got different experiences at both. I was able to visit both settings and explain and discuss with staff my concerns and hopes for him. By this stage having attended previous settings he went in happily to both. There was the odd day he didn’t seem as keen, but it wasn’t anything to do with the very good care he received and the different experiences he was exposed too.
It is good to ask local opinion on settings, but you must remember just because a nursery or setting suits one child, does not mean it will be like that for all children. Ofsted reports and reviews are also good to look at but don’t base your decision on what someone else has seen/said. Make sure you book a visit (or call), ask questions and don’t be afraid to move your child if you feel things might be better somewhere else.
Personally, I feel that there are so many fantastic settings across Surrey and Sussex that you can try to find one that ticks as many of those ‘boxes’ for your checklist as possible".
Thank you so much to our committee member for sharing her story, we know that is is a subject that can be challenging for many to talk about. If you have questions about childcare options or where to seek support, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can signpost you to some great locations.