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!