The “Perfect” Nursery School

So remember about a month a go I blogged about when is it the perfect time to start nursery school? Well parenting is a funny thing now isn’t it? You think you have all the answers and all the plans in place but then our little one comes along and turns everything on its head!

So I had my heart set on Ava starting playschool late in the year and her only going 3 mornings a week. Then I noticed how incredibly curious and social my child has become in the last few months, most notably since she started walking, and a little voice inside me started to whisper that it was time. The individual attention and stimulation she receives at home, alone, with Loveness, while I believe it has been hugely beneficial till this point, is simply not going to be good enough for very much longer. I’m so pleased to have been in the fortunate position to not have had to put her in a day care/crèche from a tiny baby but to be able to keep her at home, in a familiar surrounding and with someone who loves her with all their heart and dotes on her and see’s to her every need but realistically, the day would come when she would need more than that.

So I started doing my research. First I made a short list of all the schools I thought were suitable in our area. Then I went about email each of them, the same few questions about their discipline policy, about their flexibility in terms of how many days a week and hours a day, about whether they had an open door policy or did I need an appointment, about the age groups and how classes are divided, how many children in a class and how many teachers and teachers assistants in a class.

Then depending on the answers they gave me, I made a short list of 3 schools in our area which I felt would be right for Ava. The first school I chose, I chose because the owner had phoned me personally to discuss all of my questions and give me her thoughts and opinions and because a large percentage of the children from our complex attend this playschool. But when I went there, I stood outside in the road ringing the intercom for ages and nobody but nobody answered, so I simply gave up and left.

The second school I went to see I have been driving past for many years on my way to work and I’ve always liked to look of the school from the outside. But boy, was I bitterly disappointed when I went in there on my visit. There is no proper outside playing facilities for the children. The outside play area for Ava’s class is tiny and supposed to accommodate 20 children, it also has no sunshine. The classrooms were dark and cluttered. And they have no policy on sleep time – there are two stretchers which are put on the floor and rotated amongst the children when they are tired! When she took me to the office to give me registration forms, it stank of cigarette smoke and was so untidy I’m not sure how they find a thing in there. Ava was with me and she was clingy and needy the entire time and I just felt in my heart that I’d be depressed if I had to leave here there every day.

The last school I went to see is a new school, its only in its second year of existence and their first year in their own premises as they’d originally rented from Life Style Garden Center. It’s also owned by a friend of Walter. The school is gorgeous! It has a MAGNIFICENT outside play area, complete with a bunny names Fabio! The classrooms are clean and bright and sunny. The kids toilets are SO cute, each mini toilet is moulded like an elephant. The teachers are fantastic. They have baking day every Thursday where they get to bake something, they have Kinder Music every Wednesday and they have regular visitors to the school like The Farmyard and The Insect man. Ava just loved it. The second I walked in, she was off me and out running in the play area. They have a lovely room with camp cots set up for sleep time for the younger ones (of which she will be the youngest with her birthday in December). So after much thought and a second visit to the school, we’ve decided to enroll her for the third & fourth terms this year. She starts in August and I’m so excited for her. She’s simply going to love it. She’ll be going 5 days a week, half day, after much discussion with all the playschool’s, it seems the general consensus is that the littlies enjoy school so much that a 3 day week will soon have to be extended to a 5 day week as she’ll want to go every day. Even Ava’s lifts home have been sorted, the owner of the playschool drives past our house daily as she collects her niece from “big” school and brings her to the playschool for after care. She has a car seat in her car and will drop Ava off with Loveness every afternoon so neither Walter or I need panic about leaving the office to bring her home.

Here she is having a blast in the outside play area:

Mostly, I’m so excited to see her experience the next phase in her life. I think she’s going to love it!

And the one thing I learned about this whole exercise is this – as parents, we don’t all have the same idea of what we’d like for our children, this was quite clear when I stumbled into one of the dreadful nursery schools and saw all these littlies sitting on a carpet in a dark, dingy, cluttered classroom with no outside play area!

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  • Reply darylfaure

    Congrats on having found a place that you both love! I can see Ava is going to be very happy there.

    May 9, 2011 at 8:59 pm
  • Reply zamom

    The playground looks fantastic. I’m sure she’s going to be very happy and charm the pants off everyone.

    May 9, 2011 at 10:09 pm
  • Reply lea2109

    The one you chose looks lovely! I would have made a run for it so fast if I ever saw one like the second one you saw, that simply seems disgusting. I’m sure Ava will love going to “school” and soon she’ll be used to the new routine.

    And a happy mothers day to you too Sharon. 🙂

    May 9, 2011 at 10:24 pm
  • Reply To Love Bella

    Sharon that sounds GLORIOUS!! I have also emailed quite a few places, as I’d like to get Isabella started at the beginning of 2012. They have yet to respond! Not a good impression there!

    May 10, 2011 at 7:17 am
  • Reply mayflowerladybugs

    Yay Sharon! It sounds perfect! I definitely agree with the 5 days/week thing, I wanted to start mine of a couple a days a week too, but they loved it so much, they are going 5 days too!

    May 10, 2011 at 8:41 am
  • Reply Scared & Imperfect Mother

    The Playground looks lovely, i want to go play there. Im happy that you found a school for your daughter that you are comfortable and happy with, it makes a big difference for your child if you are happy.

    May 10, 2011 at 9:11 am
  • Reply suestuart

    Wow the playground does look lovely! Katy has just moved from the babies into the toddlers class at her creche, and seems to be loving playing and interacting with others – she regularly comes home with shoes and jean-turnups full of sand from the sandpit :).

    May 10, 2011 at 9:36 am
  • Reply tzipieastwest

    Looks like a wonderful playground and what a good sign that Ava went to explore it on her own initiative.
    You really have wonderful skills to mother Ava, Sharon. You are so well-tuned into her ! REally inspiring & Congrats !!

    It must feel like a big step once your child starts to go to playgroup/school …

    May 10, 2011 at 9:40 am
  • Reply Christelle

    That looks like such an amazing place!

    Congratulations on finding a daycare that suits both yourself and Ava. Not an easy task!

    May 10, 2011 at 10:06 am
  • Reply waiting4amiracle

    I must say the pics look great. Very welcoming and fun. Its a tough decision. I hope she loves it and thrives there. xxx

    May 10, 2011 at 11:07 am
  • Reply Mash

    It looks really great, and so cute to see that little busy cutie running around there right at home!

    May 10, 2011 at 11:33 am
  • Reply coachmarcia

    Do you know what I love about you? Your ability to let go, and quickly!

    I tentatively made some enquiries – one came back, one didn’t even bother to respond to my TWO emails I sent off their website and yet I’m still hanging onto that one because of what? Because Caroline said it’s a good school 🙂

    You’re right – I’m writing them off now because if they can’t be bothered to respond now, what when my kids are there?

    I can’t see the slideshow but I will look at home – from your words it sounds LOVELY.

    Well done!

    May 10, 2011 at 11:37 am
  • Reply TJ

    Sharon, I’m so glad you’ve found somewhere for Ava to go and have fun and socialise! And you’re comfortable with it. She’s going to love it! And so good that they have activities and such! I just love getting all the artwork every 2 weeks (this is when they change their theme)

    And it’s so true how all mothers differ in where and what we expect and accept as suitable for our children.

    I was also horrified at the state of the creches I had looked at. How they even get approved is beyond me!

    You know, I went to a creche where they had ‘scheduled’ nappy change times – and a 2yr old got sent home (while I was there) with a dirty nappy! Another creche had walking rings, baby chairs, jolly jumpers, TV’s and prams in the class. I personally don’t like animals like bunnies around because they carry diseases (however if they are in a hutch – I’d accept that – not for them to run freely as at the one creche I saw)

    I was also so shocked to see that the one creche had fencing around a corner property and the toddlers play area allowed them to go right up to the fence. I shudder to think of the sickos that could be handing out candy or doing what not when a teacher is occupied by another child.

    But you know the saddest of all – was that there was one creche with really nice facilities but the babies and toddlers didn’t go outside because there was ONE mom who would allow her child outside – all the other mothers didn’t want their kids to go outside! So 18 kids get stuck in a class all day long – so sad!

    I think at the end of the day – creches with low standards exist because parents become desperate!

    May 10, 2011 at 11:50 am
  • Reply bratty37

    Sharon, I started reading for blog and that horrible pit feeling started forming…I am petrified of the day that I have to make the decision to send Jada to school.

    I think you have made a good choice in schools…but as for me, I am going to stick my head back into my hole…smile

    May 10, 2011 at 1:53 pm
  • Reply mrssee2

    It looks lovely. I have also seen some horrors of late.

    I would be interested to know what questions you asked. I didnt think of the discipline thing at all, or where they sleep.

    Its a quagmire out there!

    May 10, 2011 at 4:19 pm
  • Reply orbit365

    Ah…the school that you have chosen looks absolutely perfect for her. Well done!

    May 18, 2011 at 4:21 pm
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