A Father’s View of Nursery – Chris Gouch
Leaving my first born for the first time.
My daughter is 15 months old, not only is she the most beautiful human being I’ve ever laid my eyes on, she’s also a genius. Not that I’m biased or anything!
But this is not about her. It’s about her nursery and my opinion, as her (slightly overprotective) father, of the people who look after her there and the impact it’s had on our family.
I’ll try to keep it brief, and I promise to be honest. Here goes….
My wife returned to work when our daughter was just 9 months old. It was her choice, she wanted to return to work, and I was outwardly supportive. But inside I was bricking it!
She was just a baby, she was so small. I barely trusted myself to look after her, how on earth was I supposed to trust a group of complete strangers?
Choosing a Nursery
We didn’t know many other parents at this point, so couldn’t rely on word of mouth referrals. So we did a good old Google search and went to visit a number of different nurseries in our local area.
I went along to all of them, but to be honest, I didn’t go in with an open mind. I didn’t really want her to go to nursery at all, but if she did have to go I was going to be VERY selective over where she went.
The most important aspect for me was safety. If I wasn’t going to be there to look out for her, I needed to be completely sure that she was safe.
My wife cared about the staff, the sort of play equipment, the different areas, the food. But while she was chatting away to the staff, I was doing mental health and safety checks and risk assessments… a concrete step here, an unprotected plug socket there. Needless to say there were a lot of nurseries that didn’t make the grade.
It sounds corny, but when we did finally find ‘the one’, we knew it, it felt right for us. It was smaller, and calmer than most of the others. The atmosphere was homely and welcoming, so much so that I forgot half of my safety check list and just sat and played in the sensory corner! The staff were friendly and knowledgeable, and the children were happy.
First Day Nerves
I was happy with our choice of nursery, but I was still very apprehensive about giving responsibility of my little girl to someone else for the day.
I took her to one of her settling in sessions, but couldn’t quite bring myself to leave her! I left the room, but stayed hovering outside the window for a long time just to triple check that she wasn’t going to have a meltdown when she realised that Daddy had left her.
She didn’t have a meltdown. In fact, she absolutely loved it. She didn’t even notice that I had gone.
She took instantly to her key worker, and their bond eased my fears about leaving her there. The staff at nursery may be strangers to me, but they are no longer strangers to her. They have gone on to play a huge role in her life.
What she’s learnt
I mentioned before that my daughter is a genius. I knew this before she started nursery, but now they’ve propelled her learning even further.
It’s impossible to tell how she would be developing if she wasn’t at nursery, but I can really see the progress she’s making.
Notably her language and her love of books has really taken off. She will often pick up a book and bring it over for me to read (or just shout “book book” until I bring one to her) and now, she really concentrates on the pictures and listens to the words.
The biggest change though, is the way she plays. She is independent, and she wants to explore EVERYTHING. You can really see her learning from new experiences, and I’m so glad that she has these knowledgeable people around her to encourage her learning in positive ways.
What I’ve learnt
One thing I now know, after reluctantly putting my little girl in nursery, is that although they will never love her as much as I do, they certainly seem to love looking after her, and she most definitely loves spending her days with them. And for that, I am truly grateful.