Fair(thorne)ing Well… By Ali
I have to be honest unlike Beth it didn’t even cross my mind to look into anything other than nursery for Eadie’s childcare. I think this was a mixture of idleness and inexperience. At this point I had very few friends with children and this is what the few I did have had done so I followed suit. Classic Ali!
I remember Beth freaked me out out a bit with all her childcare arrangements in place months before her return to work. Classic Beth! She assured everyone in the NCT chat not to panic as she was returning to work such earlier than us… Then it dawned on me that I was returning to work the same month as Beth. The same day in fact! So we set to work figuring out where Eadie would go two days a week. We’re very lucky as Tom’s Mum has her every Tuesday, Tom (currently) has her on a Wednesday and I have her on a Thursday. So just Monday and Friday to cater for.
What we needed from our childcare was somewhere ideally en route to my work place but also not massively out of the way if Tom needed to drop off/pick up, someone with an 8.00am (ish?!) drop off and a 6.00pm (at the earliest) pick up time. Turns out no nursery in the area has a pick up time later than this. It was also really important to us that Eadie was somewhere that offered the children lots of time outdoors. From my, frankly limited, research I really liked the idea of Forest Schooling. A Scandinavian concept described as ‘regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees’. As you may have realised by now I love to pretend I’m Scandinavian! They just get it so right.
All joking aside I’m also a firm believer in fresh air being good for the soul! I’m always in a much better mind set if I haven’t been stuck inside all day long. After conversations with friends, neighbours and colleagues one nursery seemed to be front runner straight away. Fairthorne Manor. Sounds fancier than it is! Funnily enough my younger sisters used to go to their infamous summer camps in their youth and absolutely loved it. Anyway to cut a long story short we looked at a couple of others so as to be objective but to be honest our minds (maybe just mine…) were made up. When we visited Fairthorne we loved it straight away, the staff seemed very competent and knowledgable, children seemed to be having a wonderful time, there was a real buzz in each room and Tom wanted to attend himself! Coupled with the fact they have an outstanding Ofsted rating and were within our budget it seemed a real winner.
So our decision was fairly straight forward and easy. Since Eadie has started we’ve been so pleased and impressed by all aspects of Fairthorne. All the girls and guys (love that they have male staff!) are so nice but also really honest and try to get the best out of Eadie. She clings to her key worker for dear life sometimes (poor girl feels like she can’t leave the room!) and they’re working hard to get her over this. Since starting she’s become far more sociable and best of all she comes home so worn out the she sleeps like a baby! Don’t get me wrong it’s not all rosy. She still wails almost every time I drop her off and must have contracted every cold, cough and sickness bug in the county in three months but I know she’s having fun and her reaction when I collect her is priceless.
So, so far so good. This option is working out really well for the three of us. I’d definitely recommend nursery as an option for childcare especially if you can find one where staff seem genuinely passionate about what they do. I don’t know how they do it but hats off to them!