Picking the Right Nursery

I know it’s hard to believe but soon enough it will be summer and millions of little ones will be starting nursery for the 1st time or Preschool, or Kindergarten .

That means as parents you now have the tough job of picking one for them. Not quite as easy as you think. I mean do you no know what to look for?, what to ask? , understand the lingo ?. It’s not something many parents have an understanding off I mean why would you it could be 20-30 years since you were in one .

That is why I’m writing this blog to help you through this stressful experience which should be a special moment. But why me ?

I worked in nursery education for several years before becoming a chaperone for children on TV. I trained in early years education gaining my HNC and NC in this . So hopefully I can pass some of my experiences onto you to help you make a decision and of course I have just got Thea accepted into our 1st choice nursery.

Being Dyslexic I can ramble on and not always get to the point so for this blog I’m going for bullet points with a brief explanation if needed.

1) what do you want ?. Do you want want a term term nursery, do you want extended hrs, do you want a local nursery, or a nursery that teaches a specific type of learning. Whatever you want please let the nursery know l,ask them or be forward and tell them this about your and children needs.

2) Listen to advice from family and friends but please don’t take this as gospel as everybody has different needs. Don’t feel pressured into sending your child somewhere just because a friend or family member goes there.

3) Preparation people check reviews out of nurseries again you will some brill and some not so. Just keep an eye out for same positives or criticisms as if they are all saying same just like any reviews there maybe some truths in it.

4) Check the official reports on Ofstead and The Care Inspectorate to see your nurseries grades. Right I’m going to be honest here. I’m not 100% on these reports. Why ? For nurseries 3 years + it’s an inspection every 3 years and for under 3 it’s 2 years and there has been issues in the past that settings can get good scores but that may not be the case everyday in the setting.

5) Talk to your children find out their interests find out how the nursery can develop those interests. Every child is an individual as how they will cater for their individual needs.

6) A nursery tour you will everything good about the nursery it maybe the nursery is a business. Don’t ever be afraid to ask any questions you want to walk away with a clear mind.

7) This is one I picked up from fellow parents. Watch how the nursery workers interact with your child. Are they interacting or are they just selling the nursery to you. Which maybe great but you are not spending up 11hrs in the place

8) Extra curricular activities examples football, french, drama, art classes, music to name a few sound awesome and if free great. But if they cost this can cost a small fortune again just ask the price , we picked a nursery that doesn’t have extras like this.

9) Finally my best advice You will know when you know. I know how vague but after talking to parents about this, this is the feedback I got. If you have a bad feeling don’t just go it will be alright check more nurseries or go back and ask questions. At some point you will find a nursery and it will feel welcoming , warm ,fun and meet all your needs at this point you have found your nursery.

I hope this blog helps and if you any questions just ask !.

Having Dyslexia and not knowing you have Dyslexia

At the age of 29 years old I did a check/ test with Dyslexia Scotland to see if I had dyslexia or in my words “I’m I just thick and lazy” like many of my teachers had implied.

After the test which involved puzzles , sequences and words . The report I got basically said moderate / to severe dyslexia and I also had a processing delay , I found it hard to understand instructions and problem solve. I had felt that for years I would be asked to do a task but it was like I was being spoke to in a foreign language . I never said anything and took the jokes or the annoyance of co-workers or managers.

Why did I do nothing?.

Imagine every school report and teacher say your lazy, doesn’t study , complete homework and isn’t teaching their potential. To say my confidence was shot is an understatement , I’m actually getting quite emotional writing about it. 13 years of education the best time of your life, I don’t think so I hated it and have an anger towards the education system how could they let this happen and then the teachers yes it was the 80’s and 90’s but the way the spoke to me and treated me was a disgrace and has definitely affected my mental health as a teenager and young adult . How can you put a child constantly down and not help them?.

Right enough of feeling sorry for myself and ranting.

How my dyslexia and processing delay affect me ?.

I’m going to start with how it affects my Instagram . When writing a post it can take several attempts . Why well I sometimes miss out words and even when reading it through I won’t know it’s missing. You see my reading is horrible if I’m reading a book I need total silence or I just don’t take it in. I often read the same line or page over and over again. So my posts can take an age to put together.

Onto spelling , I could say I can’t spell but that’s not totally right. I can but it’s like my brain muddles up the words and spits them out back to front and plays tricks on me. It looks right to me and I have the right letters but in the wrong places. It is incredibly frustrating as I often can’t use words I want to as I have no idea how to spell them or I’m scared I will be pulled up for my mistakes .

When I’m writing I struggle to make it all link together , I struggle with the grammar and punctuation I just sometimes miss it out.

I think this can be related to my audrity processing delay. I struggle with instructions verbally but also understanding skills like writing. I remember trying to learn about writing skills in school I had no idea what the teachers were asking of me so I had to self teach myself and come up with defence mechanisms to survive . God forbid the teacher asked me in class or read out my work talk about an anxiety bomb.

So how do I cope for college I had a scribe I would tell them what I was trying to say and they would put it in to proper English I also got funding for a proof reader which was fantastic. I unfortunately never got this help at university . I felt they wanted us to be robots “to pass this course you must write the way we want you to” this was never going to work my content and understanding was good but it didn’t read like university papers I soon dropped out.

Day to day I will ask family and friends to check my work but I can’t do this for every post it just wouldn’t work. Also when somebody checks your work they change it . It no longer sounds like me.

Honesty I am up front now on forms I put down I will need support or extra time and in work situations I will tell people. I may take a little longer to respond . I feel this helps me relax and what else can I do ?.

I love writing and posting it’s amazing for clearing my mind and moving on. It stops me from overthinking and keeping my anxiety in check . I also have journals with lists and thoughts but sorry they are just for me .

I hope this post helps you understand the difficulties I have when writing and maybe encourages some others with dyslexia to start writing or share their experiences.

Men in Early years Education

I have been training or working in early education for the last 8 years.

I had two years at college with 2 separate 6 month placements in council nurseries .

Once qualified I have worked in nurseries and junior schools. Mainly independent/ Private which are fee paying and finally back to a council.

In all my time I have never worked with another male in early years.

In the England 5% of the workforce are male in Scotland only 3% are!!!.

This after the UK governments have been trying to increase the number of males in the last decade a 2% increase in England and 1% in Scotland hardly figures to be proud about.

So why are there so few males picking early years education well the goverment and several education sites have published papers and there seems to be four main reasons.

I am going to give you my personal view on each. Education can be a slightly touchy subject with parents so hopefully I don’t offend anybody.

1) Men fear being stereotyped that parents and colleagues may not be welcoming and think it’s weird job for a male.

I think in the uk we have come along way and parents just want what’s best for their children. I have had a few parents who didn’t show up for parents evening with me ,made the odd comment or asked me not to change their child.Its difficult but it has been the minority.

2) Working in a female dominated environment. Right Tony be honest. It is difficult always being the only male. I have been in nurseries that have never had a male before so you have to use female toilets and heard many things I wish I never. However I did meet some wonderful early year workers and lovely people who helped me. What’s most difficult you feel quite isolated. In Scandinavia they group males together at first I think this would be a good idea here to get numbers up and so we can support each other.

3) Low pay puts men off as it’s not enough for keeping a family. The pay is below the national average wage which I think for such an important job is crazy. There has been talk about grants for men to up wages. I feel this is crazy you can’t have men getting paid more than women for the same job.

4) And finally men don’t know about early years education it’s not an option.

We need to talk about it more in schools and colleges have positive male role models come in and talk about the fantastic experience it is to help young children develop and learn.

Over the past couple of years I’m hearing more voices on social media and the news talking about males in early years which is great but it feels like it’s regions when this a national issue we should be uniting so every child in the UK has positive male and female role models.

Personally I am taking a break from working in nurseries I have had a fantastic time in early years. Met so many great children seeing them grow has been awesome.

But having a new child myself I have to put her 1st the hrs and workload has gone up over the years which has had a physical and mental affect on me.

I am still looking to work in Early years but with my own business as an Independent male nanny specialising in additional support needs and sport/fitness programmes