Okay, the time has come to pick ‘the one’.

Whether the back to work date is looming or you just need a break it is now time to pick a nursery for your little cherub.

Just one thing though, where do you start?

Which one is the best rated? Hasn’t that one got a waiting list longer than a queue through Dereham on Saturday afternoon? Shouldn’t you have out your name down before you even conceived? Do I need to rob a bank to fund this? Are all questions that whirl around when you first start the steps of finding the right nursery for you. As important as it is for your child to be safe, comfortable and happy you too, need to feel as though you can happily leave your child in their care.

In Dereham alone there are multiple nurseries, and all have varying reviews depending on who you speak to. After all, don’t we all know a friend of a friend who had an experience somewhere at some time? When I was pregnant with my first son, I knew that after 9 months I wanted to go back to work part time. We decided that one day a week he would go to nursery and we would look to increase this in the future. Some very close friends (and my son’s Godmother) had some excellent things to say about Little Owls Toftwood, and with their Outstanding Ofsted rating we booked a visit.

I was a very nervous and over protective mother as Elijah had a heart condition and I hadn’t left him in someone else’s care before. I did what any modern parent does now a days when faced with a big parenting decision and looked online. The various parenting forums all had tips and lists of what you should be looking for when you have your first visit. I left my list at home and completely forgot what I wanted to ask when I got there, turns out I didn’t need it.

With a three-month-old fussy baby we were greeted by nursery manager Holly, who instantly put us at ease. She showed us in to the Tawny Owl building and allowed us to feed Elijah on a comfy sofa whilst she got to know us. We had a lot to go through with Elijah’s condition and how it would impact his time at nursery and we never felt rushed, she asked questions, she took notes and reassured us that that they had other babies with health conditions in their care.

My eyes were kept being drawn to our surroundings, the happy children playing, the dedicated staff and the indoor play gym! It was a homely environment with some amazing facilities like a sleep room and a sensory room, and did I mention the indoor play gym?

We were given information packs that covered everything that you needed to know and were told we could call at any time with questions. We were given policy guidelines, terms and conditions, term menus and a list of staff. It didn’t just have the names of the staff but the qualifications and how long they had been there. The attention to detail to make you as a parent feel reassured was next to none. Along with Holly all of the staff members we were introduced to had a smile of their faces and greeted us warmly.

I looked at Greg we both had the same look on our faces, we knew this was the nursery for us.

As much as it is about performance reports for me it was 90% gut instinct. We just knew this was the right fit for Elijah and us. For us it was the amazing first impression we had of the staff, the warm welcome we received (a special message for us on the board outside), it was clean, and all the children were occupied with various activities in the different rooms. I recently occupied my friend around looking at Primary schools and it was the same thing. You can ask all the questions in the world about curriculum, facilities, timetables but ultimately when you know, you know.

We all want what is best for our children, and we want to give them the best start we can and for most that journey begins with nursery. It is a big milestone when your child starts nursery, for them and for you. It can be some parent’s first time leaving their children in a childcare setting. We were assigned a key worker and a care plan was booked in for us to get to know her. We then began to book in settling in sessions and a start date was finalised.

From that very first enquiry phone call, to our visit and son starting we have nothing but praise for Little Owls. They understand how the parent is feeling and to their best to put any concerns at ease. It doesn’t just stop there either, when your child is ready to progress to Snowy Owls and again to Barn Owls it is the exact same procedure.

Therefore we knew that Little Owls was the one for us, and I have never regretted it for a second.

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