Finding the right nursery or pre-school for your little one is important but sometimes this can be difficult.
I like to regularly share parents’ reviews of local early years settings on Bishopston Mum to help make this choice a little easier – real, honest opinions from a parent’s perspective can be very useful!
Today on Bishopston Mum a local mum kindly shares her experience of The Red House Children’s Centre. This nursery is situated on 1 Cossins Road in Westbury Park and received an ‘Outstanding’ rating in its last Ofsted inspection.
Why did you choose Red House Children’s Centre for your child?
We were recommended it by several families who were singing its praises as a very special place. Our daughter was in a nursery which is part of a chain across the South West and whilst it was perfect for her when she was under 2 we knew that as she got older we wanted her in a different environment, so we were looking to make a change.
When I visited Red House, I just loved its calmness, its family atmosphere and its values.
How did staff manage your child’s settling-in process?
We went for two settling in sessions, one in which my daughter visited different groups with a member of staff with the knowledge that I was there in the office if she needed me and one where we both participated in the group time and wandered around to get a feel of the environment and the structure of the day.
That was all my daughter needed to walk in on her first day with total confidence. She later went through a wobbly phase about leaving me, and the staff handled it brilliantly, making me photograph sheets so I could talk through her day at home and making sure that there was always someone on hand so I can hand my daughter to someone she loves and trusts for a cuddle as I left.
They encouraged me to call during the day if I had any concerns and gave me really detailed and reassuring feedback on what she was doing.
What do you think of the staff?
The staff absolutely make this the beautiful learning environment that it is. They have regular insets and brilliant parent evenings which are collaborative and fun and manage to steer away from the check list of milestones and targets many nurseries are bogged down with.
They post photographs each day from the morning and afternoon session so you can really see what your child has been up to and give you detailed verbal feedback on the day, specific to your child at the door.
There is lots of written communication too, from writing up the words to the songs sung that week, to a daily printed sheet which details that sessions activities to remind you.
My daughter genuinely loves the staff she spends time with and talks really fondly of them at home.
What do you like best about Red House?
All the staff are really well qualified – either teachers or with advanced level education training. It really shows in the activities they plan and in the confidence and depth of understanding with which they speak to you about your child.
I love the managed risk taking environment – sewing machines and spinning wheels, garden pond, open fires in the winter and treehouse. The children are outside in all weather.
They have a lovely chef who provides home cooked wholesome meals. Red House prides itself on its ‘home from home’ environment and it really feels like that – a warm extension of our home.
What do you like least?
It’s a bit pricier than other nurseries that I’ve looked at, which I understand as there are so many staff there everyday. I literally love every other thing about it!
What kind of activities are on offer?
Every day is different and so many ideas to try at home with your child. It’s very creative and child led so often the activities seem to be following the child’s line of questioning covering – woodwork, sewing, art and collaging, cooking, dressing up and make believe, a beautiful garden and a weekly ‘Movement day’ where they focus on motor skills.
Children have a home group and a group leader which they return to at intervals throughout the day to give it structure, but are largely led by their own curiosity and preference.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
No surprise Red House is Ofsted Outstanding time and again. I believe it has been passed through at least three generations of the same family, and it genuinely has a really unique character that makes it a very special place.
I’m gutted that my daughter will have to leave it one day!
If you would like to provide a review of a local nursery or pre-school please contact me (Hilary) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.