Nurseries in Brockley

This is a subject we've previously steered away from, partly through lack of direct experience and partly because we know how emotive a subject child care can be. However, the topic's been raised elsewhere on the site, so we thought it would be useful to create a thread for it.

Our own experience as a parent is limited to Hilly Fields Day Nursery on Harcourt Road. We have nothing to benchmark it against and our parental standards are perhaps laxer than some (we're the sort of parent who, if our child drops a lolly on the floor, will pick off the fluff and give it back to them). However, on the occasions we used the nursery, we found the carers to be friendly and attentive to the children.

The nursery itself is bigger than the outside would lead you to believe with a communal indoor/outdoor play area and separate floors for younger and older children. Our child consistently came back happy and played-out, which suggests a caring and stimulating environment.

Please use this thread to share your advice on the best nurseries in Brockley.

108 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm the poster who slagged off the nurseries earlier. I have to say I checked Hilly Fields Day Nursery out and didn't like it. The girls looking after the kids looked like were working there because their mums had told them they needed to earn some money rather than because they genuinely enjoy child care. There was very little activity. A complete contrast to, for instance, Oak Hill on Wallbutton rd or the Montessori on Kitto Rd, both of which I would recommend. I had bad vibes from Hilly Fields which as a parent is often enough.

Brockley Nick said...

I understand that it's subjective and that experiences can vary from parent to parent. I also have a rather limited amount of experience with that particular nursery.

Anonymous said...

In addition Nick- as a benchmark - I am also the kind of parent who picks up a dropped lolly and wipes off the dirt.

Anonymous said...

Every parent has to do their own thing and I'm not an 'expert' as someone helpfully reminded me but my earlier post was simply expressing a surprise that - In my opinion- the Conservation area was not the home to all the good nurseries in Brockley.

tj said...

Think we need to be careful about potentially slagging off a business unless we have evidence. Especially when it comes to something as sensitive as childcare. I think a 'hunch' or a 'feeling' isn't good enough. Maybe better to say which nururies you like and why..

tj said...

I think ones that teach you to spell, and check your work are a good start

nobbly brick said...

17 years ago our son went to Chelwood nursery, he loved it and decided not to pursue education when he left there - it was just that good...

Anonymous said...

Better delete all those anti Speedi cars postings then TJ. Don't be so sensitive.

Anonymous said...

I'd imagine some parents in brockley (the trendy Trinnys and Tristrams) would have a hermetically sealed lolly specially ordered for little Tarquin. Oh, and it would be organic and fairtrade of course.

Tressilliana said...

Important distinction: day nurseries provide childcare which will include some education. Nursery schools, preschools and nursery classes provide education for the equivalent of school hours or half-day sessions. You can't fit work around a nursery education session unless you work very part-time, or unless you can arrange with your childminder or day nursery to take your child to and from the nursery class.

Having said that - my children went to Chelwood Nursery School and absolutely loved it. The gold standard as far as nursery education goes.

Don't have anything to add about daycare, never paid for any.

Tamsin said...

Tresilliana is quite right - there is a significant difference between nursery classes and pre-schools (that operate for just half a day) and day-care from 8 to 6. I also have heard almost nothing but good of Chelwood. Nickki is inspriational and a force to be reckoned with. For what it's worth - and apologies that it is is so long, but as it is bang on topic I attach an early draft of what went into the Hilly Telegraph about a year ago. But it is still fairly up-to-date. The missing numbers are 07903 478 408 for the pre-school in the Telegraph Hill Centre - called Kalm Kids - and 020 8694 2600 or 07940 791 157 for Josephine Mutabeni at Early Bloomers on Brockley Cross.
Childcare in Telegraph Hill
Whether you are looking to return to work after you have had your baby, are in the happy position of being able to work from home but need some time without distractions, or need time away from your toddler for yourself and/or your new baby - you could be looking for full or part-time childcare. Even if none of these apply you may still want some safe but stimulating environment where your child can learn social skills and independence in preparation for the big step into Nursery Class or Reception.
We are lucky in Telegraph Hill in that there is a wide range of provision available in easy reach but it still seems that demand is in excess of supply and it is in any event sensible to follow the advice of the Daycare Trust – www.daycaretrust.org.uk – to start looking early and to shop around until you find a provision that feels right for you and your child. The very helpful little booklet Looking for Childcare can be downloaded (3MB) from the Sure Start website (publications section) www.surestart.gov.uk or can be ordered free of charge from the Department for Children, Schools and Families – Tel: 0845 6022260.
To summarise what is available:
A new Pre-school is due to open in the Telegraph Hill Centre from September providing sessional care for two to five year olds – 9.?? to 12.?? each weekday morning. Since it is a totally new venture (although Donna xxx, the Manager, has for many years provided peripatetic creche services) with different staff and a different managment structure to the old St. Catherine’s Pre-school it does not yet have Early Education Provider status and so the Nursery Education Grant for three year olds is not available to subsidise the fees. However this should be forthcoming in the reasonably foreseeable future and do call in one morning or telephone xxx xxxx xxxx to find out more.
The pre-school in the Centre is ideally situated for everyone in Telegraph Hill, but just over the border in Southwark there is St Mary’s Pre-School in St. Mary’s Church Hall, 63 St. Mary’s Road, Nunhead also providing care from 9.45 to 12.15 each weekday morning for 2 to 5 year olds. Telephone 020 7277 6255 or e-mail stmarypreschool@hotmail.com for details.
For full daycare provision there is the relatively new Oak Hill Community Nursery in Wallbutton Road providing childcare 8am to 6pm, five days a week, 51 weeks a year for babies and children from 6 months to five years. This is in the purpose-built premises of the Hatcham Oak Early Childhood Centre and, although run by an independent non-profit making company, it is being supported in its start up by Lewisham Children’s Centre Services. For details and application forms call in, telephone Cher, the Manager, on 020 7639 6047 or visit the website – www.oakhill.org.uk.
Another new start is Early Bloomers in Endwell Road. Forget the Brockley Cross Day Nursery, although Early Bloomers is running on the same site. There is new management, new staff and a total change around. Josephine xxx and her team provide daycare for children aged xx months to 5 years xx am to xx pm five days a week with truly imaginative use of the space available. Call in to enquire further or telephone xxx xxxx xxxx for details.
In Kitto Road there is the well established Stepping Stones Montessori again providing care from 8am to 6pm and working with a broad range of Montessori equipment for babies and children from 6 months to 5 years. Contact xxx xxxx on 020 7277 6288 for details and information about the waiting list and applications.
Operating from the Barnes Wallis Centre on Wildgoose Drive there is the Stars of Hope Day Nursery. Telephone Anne or Nakissa Campbell on 020 7639 1777 for details. They and their team care for childen aged 2 to 5 years, 8am to 6pm five days a week.
As an alternative, and one providing greater flexibility, you could consider the option of where your child is looked after in the family situation of a child-minder’s own home. All registered child-minders are inspected for suitability and in the area of the Hatcham Oak Children’s Centre they have the benefit of a dedicated support team. For details of registered child-minders in Telegraph Hill contact the Childminding Network Co-ordinator, Elizabeth-Anne Grandison-Mills, 07841 733 689 (mobile) or e-mail elizabeth-anne.grandison-mills@lewisham.gov.uk.

Tamsin said...

Glad to hear good things about Oak Hill - I have an interest (although totally non-pecuniary) to declare here since I am one of the voluntary directors suckered in when it was started up, as an independent body, by Lewisham Children's Centres.

BTW they had a recent break-in (security measures now considerably tightened) but with significant uninsured losses.
They are therefore having an old fashioned fete/fund-raiser on Sunday 28th Sept. from 12 to 5, so anyone looking for child-care is welcome to come along, see the premises, meet the staff, and spend some money on the tombola, splat-a-rat, face-painting, bouncy castle etc., etc. in the process.

TJ, "hunches" and "feelings" are what you have to go on when assessing day-care - that is actually, in other words admittedly, the official advice. Of course this varies from parent to parent (some pick up dropped lollies and some wipe their children's bare feet with a baby wipe before putting socks and shoes back on) so it's a good thing there is plenty of variety out there.

Do dah said...

Not being able to find suitable staff is problem in lots of industries, it does help if you pay people properly however.

If there is an issue with a nursery PLEASE report it to the relevant body. This is childrens' lives we're dealing with here.

Do not be embarassed or reticient about this.

Anonymous said...

On the subject of Hilly Fields Nursery I feel I should defend them. Our son has been going there full time for almost 12 months. In our experience we have found the staff genuinely interested in his development and enthusiastic about their jobs. Childcare is indeed a personal issue but I wanted to give some positive feedback on Hilly Fields Nursery.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any feedback on Catherine House Day Nursery? Is it any good?

tj said...

Tamsin - I still think it is a dnagerpous thing to slag off nurseuries on the basis of 'hunches' and feelings. Even when we have a go at Speedicars or the council there is usually a cause or a reason behind it (perceived lack of following the rules; not providing a paid for service) - I think it should bbe the same - rahter than 'I didn't like the feel of Hilly Fields'. Parents have children at these establishments and quite rightly take any negative very seriously

Tamsin said...

I quite agree. That is where the Ofsed reports come in with some standard criteria and a degree of objectivity that parents going by their insticts and feelings can't be expected to have.
Ofsted for Catherine's House here: http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/oxcare_reports/display/(id)/484834 which is reasonable enough, although I have heard reactions to their name being a sharply in-drawn breath.
The Ofsted report for Hilly Fields is here:
http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/oxcare_reports/download/(id)/509603/(as)/EY282539_CB.pdf

All are readily available from the Ofsed website - just start with a search around your postcode.

Brockley Nick said...

Tj's point applies to every local business. Generally, if you don't have anything nice to say about local businesses, then better to say nothing at all. This is not to say we should censor ourselves and if you have direct experience of bad service and feel strongly about it, then I think it's reasonable to say so, but I will not allow rumours to be spread about any business and we should always remember that the people we are talking about are often our friends and neighbours.

My child enjoyed their time at Hilly Fields Day Nursery, and I am happy to recommend them on that basis.

Tressilliana said...

My next door neighbour's little girl has been going to Catherine House for a couple of mornings a week and they seem quite happy with it. However, that's very different from sending your little one to a nursery for a 40+ hour week.

Anonymous said...

Catherine House -- beware, their waiting list administration is *very* poor. If you're planning on paying the £100 fee to join it, make sure you have a backup plan.

Anonymous said...

HOW much?

You could employ a full time nanny for that! (and she'd cook your dinner, perform personal services, etc.)

Anonymous said...

I bet they'd love to respond and say how badly behaved some peoples little Petronellas are...

Commenter said...

A couple of things, whilst I agree with Nobbly Brick's comment that the Nursery needs to be offered the right to reply. It is a good practice. The situation with Speedicars is different. No one as far as I can see is slagging off Speedicars service, it is a simple now sorted matter regarding their illuminated plastic sign in the conservation area.

Someone mentioned in a eariler post about not going on and on about this subject. I think that's a good idea.

We've got other things to focus on...such as the state of Brockley Road.

JPM (moderated) said...

After looking at the one by the Cross (depressing) and Hilly Fields, we settled on Catherine House.

The building is set over many floors, and I think that this makes it unsuitable for use as a nursery.

...

I pulled my daughter out of Catherine House and got a nanny instead. When I couldn't afford that I did the rest.

...

60 Manor Avenue is being sized up as a new nursey. We are concerned about the traffic and noise impact, and so its change of use - from a down at heels club - is far from certain.

Certainly we seem to have enough nurseries in the area already, and the loss of the (community) club itself may be controversial.

westsider said...

Everyone has a right to reply, this is a blog. And I agree, no one is slagging off Speedicars, they just wanted their sign replaced. It's done now.

westsider said...

What I mean is - any business who wants to put their point across can do so by coming on here and post. That's what Jam Circus and the Talbot have done. I wish some others were smart enough to do the same.

nobbly brick said...

can I ask why my post was completely removed?

I could post it again, for illustration purposes, but perhaps a small insight into the think behind the removal might be helpful

Anonymous said...

I don't think the onus should be on the businesses concerned to reply to all opinions, and certainly not to even be aware of this blog's existance.

Name and address supplied, sat in a nappy full of shit.

westsider said...

Yeah, why should businesses bother finding out where many of their customers and potential customers get their infomation from, still less talk to them? What have customer research and marketing got to do with running a successful business? Answers on a postcard to the empty unit at the end of my road...

Anonymous said...

Do you really think its a reasonable expectation for a local business to know what a blog is and actively search for any concerning them?

I don't.

welcome to 2008 said...

Gotta side with westsider - any business that doesn't know what the internet is and what it can do for them is missing a massive trick.

The Cat Man said...

there are limits to what a blog can do. If you post comments stated in the telegraph or daily mail then they will get deleted on here so let's not pretend this is a meaningful forum for discussion.

The liberal 'pc' world of brockley central will have us all holding hands in a circle praising each other about achieving nothing in particular

Tamsin said...

And how much time do small businesses have to surf the net? If nursery administrators logged on and kept abreast of every relevant web-site they would spend no time dealing with the waiting list, enterings costs, ordering food, writing reports etc. etc.

Reputation is very easily damaged by careless rumours or even misunderstood jests. We do need to be careful.

Commenter said...

If Nick creates a thread asking for views on local businesses, then he should be prepared to give them a buzz or drop an email with a link to the comments. That's the fairest system for both sides.

welcome to 2008 said...

Commenter are you nuts? How much time do you think the bloke's got. If you read the post, he said he was doing it reluctantly because it was already being discussed in the suggest a topic bit. And he asked specifically for recommendations. As tamsin says, it's our responsibility.

And by the way, do any of you people use amazon? Ebay? Tripadvisor? Any number of local forums and chatrooms? There's all kinds of public comment on there, people posting their views about businesses, some big, some small.

That's the way the world works these days. You don't obsess over one comment, you look at the weight of opinion. And cat man, you really aren't a nice person. You are a blight on this site and probably on the lives of everyone who knows you.

Commenter said...

Commenter are you nuts?

Nope, but you'd be better asking that of my psychiatrist

How much time do you think the bloke's got.

Don't know. But it shouldn't take too long to find the contact details and prep a standard

If you read the post, he said he was doing it reluctantly because it was already being discussed in the suggest a topic bit.

It doesn't matter, lots of things are suggested there,Nick makes an editorial decision to crate a thread.

And he asked specifically for recommendations.

Yes, all the more reason to get a right of reply system going.

As tamsin says, it's our responsibility.

Nevertheless this blog does shape perceptions of things and does have influence.

And by the way, do any of you people use amazon?

Yes
Ebay?
Not so much
Tripadvisor?
Nope
Any number of local forums and chatrooms?
Sometimes
There's all kinds of public comment on there, people posting their views about businesses, some big, some small.
Yep and your point is?

That's the way the world works these days.
Oh ok, thanks for the heads up.

You don't obsess over one comment,

Obsess? me? another issue for my psychiatrist
you look at the weight of opinion. And cat man, you really aren't a nice person. You are a blight on this site and probably on the lives of everyone who knows you.

What?!...oh right that bit is not for me, you're being rude to someone else.

welcome to 2008 said...

Commenter, in all seriousness, if you think it's simple and important enough to contact every business and invite them to reply to comments raised, then why don't you take it upon yourself to do it - that can be your contribution. After all, we don't need to do everything via the mods do we?
Anyway, I don't understand what you're worried about, there was one comment that might have overstepped the line and it rapidly got deleted, so why are we arguing?

nobbly brick said...

If it was my comment that overstepped the mark... (and was deleted) (incidentally, there were at least two comments deleted, one voicing strong objections to a nursery and mine saying that people should post more responsibly about local businesses)

...then I'm not sure at all where that mark lies

but this is a local blog, no argument about that surely, and when local businesses are mentioned by name and that mention in any way puts anything as much as a shadow over the reputation of that business then it's in bad taste because it's unfair and unbalanced.

A rant by any other name but we don't all have the ability to delete posts without warning or question

Anonymous said...

Sorry nobbly, I don't understand wot you're trying to say

Mara said...

Just in case anyone does want to try reputation management on the Internet for their business - why not set up Google Alerts for your business name and variations thereof. This way you don't have to search for your mentions, you'll always be alerted.

Piece of cake and takes only a few minutes to set up.

JPM said...

If anyone wants to know of my opinions of Catherine House, which have unfortunately been deleted, then let me know. However, on the nursery note...

A company styled Zoom Nurseries Ltd (aka Zoom Nursery Ltd, and Zoom Management Ltd)is attempting to open a nursery at 60 Manor Avenue. With plans to cater for 80 children, with twenty support staff, this will impact on what is a residential street. (Apparently the staff will only use bikes and the parents will come 'on foot' though.)

Brockley Kate said...

With regard to letting local businesses know about this blog, we have in the past discussed the possibility of actively promoting the blog eg. by leaflets etc, but we felt that perhaps the site couldn't cope with a big influx of new commenters (at least until Jon has finished bolting on the rocket boosters and fine-tuning the other additions he's got planned for the site upgrade).
We're regularly topping 100 replies to posts already, and it's pretty hard to keep track of everything being discussed here.

That's not to say we don't welcome people spreading the word to friends, relations and businesses if they wish; I've mentioned the site informally to a few local businesses and I'm sure others have too. I'm a bit ambivalent about doing something on a wider scale and more co-ordinated though. What do other people think?

Monkeyboy said...

These things tend to grow exponentially. A well run small site (which this is) may be better then a larger site not administered properly? Dunno, I'm still jet lagged. Can you imagine 3 WEEKS of emails when I get back in tomorrow?

Anonymous said...

I'd launch it brockley-wide when you have a proper forum going. At the moment you can only really see active discussions by the 'recent replies' thing, and that's just wrong.

Tamsin said...

Back to local nurseries... At what point do Catherine House charge £100 to go on their waiting list and presumably it is refundable if you don't get offered a place?
By way of context I've been slow replying because I was checking out what Oak Hill do. They take your details at any stage and will contact you in advance with a formal letter when it seems that a place will be becoming available, giving a set start date (currently sending out letters for starting in February 2009). It is at this point that they will ask you to reply within a couple of weeks (or shorter if it's an unexpeced vacancy) with acceptance of the place and one week's fees as a non-refundable deposit. This is forfieted if you change your mind in the interim but pays for the first week as and when you take up your place.

Anonymous said...

There clearly seems to be underprovision of nursery places in the area - some of the 'good' nurseries are now booked up until September 2009 already! Does anyone have any recommendations for childminders in the Brockley/HOP area?

Anonymous said...

There's not 'clearly' an underprovision in the area.
Try Early Bloomers, Catherine House, Hilly Fields Day Nursery, St John's etc [If you're a student try Lewisham College or Goldsmiths.]
And don't know what HOP area means, but there are childminders listed online for Brockley. {You might also try the after school clubs.]

Anonymous said...

HOP = Honor Oak Part, at a guess.

Anonymous said...

There 'clearly' is underprovision as there are not enough spaces available for the number of parents looking for their kids. Anyone trying to find care will be aware of this. The provision has not kept pace with the gentrification of the area - business opportunity for someone?

mljay said...

JPM - would love to have your opinion on Catherines House.

Anonymous said...

I would love to hear the opinion on Catherines House as well!

Sarah said...

My son's been at Catherine House for three years. If he didn't absolutely love it there, I'd have taken him out about 2.5 years ago. They have a huge turnover of staff, are hopeless at communicating, and for the money they ought to be a damn site better.

Every parent I've ever talked to whose kids also attend Catherine House has the same things to say - terrible communication with parents. The kind of thing where you turn up to drop off the child and they tell you that they're in a play today and are you coming along to watch? Having given no notice at all. There is a culture of buck-passing among some of the staff. Until I and a few other angry parents made a huge fuss one easter, their idea of the easter break was to open the nursery on Good Friday, when everyone was at home and so didn't need it, then close it on the Tuesday. When everyone had gone back to work. No refund offered of course, to cover the extra expense of having to find someone else to look after your child that day. I could go on - there are endless anecdotes - but I think I've made my point. The only good thing is that my son loves it there, which is why I've left him in. He has some good friends and seems to genuinely enjoy it. I suppose when you're four you have different priorities!

Simone said...

Does anyone know about a new nursery opening up on Wickham Road? Cherry something or other...

Headhunter said...

Oh no, not another nursery....

fabhat said...

HH if it's not on Manor Ave surely you don't care where new nurseries are? It won't affect you and might be useful for other locals...

Headhunter said...

I was only joking, Wickham Rd is probably better prepared for a nursery, it's a wider road and designed for higher volumes of traffic already, unlike Manor Avenue which is relatively narrow and has traffic "shoulders" making it awkward for cars to pass along.

Nica said...

Does anyone recommend any nurseries around Crofton Park/Ladywell area? or even any childminders?

I have heard there is a Sure Start services in Crofton Park Primary School - has anyone heard of this - can't seem to find any info.

Anonymous said...

I'll let the NIMBYS in Manor Avenue answer that one.

NIMBY of Manor Avenue said...

Whether it be nurseries, sky dishes or minicab signs; we shall complain on the beaches, we shall complain on the landing grounds, we shall complain in Hilly Fields and Coulgate Street, we shall complain on Telegraph Hill; we shall never surrender

What a grey day said...

Although I agree with some of Sarah's criticism of Catherine House, I think it's a bit harsh! I have 2 children there and while I agree that communication is definitely a weakness, there are more good points than she lets on. Although they do tend to leave communication to the last minute, they give slightly more notice than Sarah suggests - usually there's a note on the door a week or so before an event, it's just that some parents are in a hurry (obviously) and don't read them. Also, re staff turnover, there was certainly a rocky period over a year ago when there was a lot of movement, but there has since been a good stretch of stability during which very few members of staff have left, and the staff generally seem much happier. And let's face it, staff turnover is a problem in most, if not all, nurseries as it's a low-paid job. The deputy and 3rd in command are both excellent and the staff are genuinely fond of my children. They have a few questionable policies and I do agree about the 'passing the buck' culture, especially among the people in "Head Office" - they have an answer for everything and are not good at taking criticism on board. However, both my children are extremely happy there and that is surely the most important thing. They eat well there, there is a lovely garden with some nice equipment and the children get taken to Hilly Fields regularly. I agree that we are paying a lot and that we have a right to have high expectations, but we're paying the going rate and friends with children at other nurseries have similar complaints, as well as some complaints I don't have about CH.

Anonymous said...

LOOK AFTER THE CHILD YOURSELF YOU WICKED PARENT!

raidroned said...

yeah that's the way to make yourself look like a wanker. Jump to a conclusion and type it in capital letters.

Awesome.

Anonymous said...

I'm off to Portland to open a book on how likely it is that Anon 10:38 uses terry nappies.

Anon 10:38 said...

It's too easy these days to wind people up...

Tamsin said...

Not the Crofton Park side but near Brockley Station there is Early Bloomers and Oak Hill. The former, I think, has vacancies - well, it did last wintr - and the latter is full at present but runs a waiting list so it depends when you want the place.

(I declare an emotional interest since I am a director of Oak Hill and I think the lady who turned around Early Bloomers from the previous Brockley Cross disaster has done a grand job in terribly difficult circumstances.)

Simone said...

'The previous Brockley Cross disaster'?! Doesn't sound too great.

patrick1971 said...

I'm imagining some sort of Odessa Steps-style mass crushing of toddlers under waves of three-wheeled enormoprams.

nica said...

It is a shame that this post has turned into a slagging match.
As previously requested, I'd like some sincere and honest opinions on local nurseries. As a local new mum-to-be any day now, I find it very disconcerting that this post has actually very little information on what it is supposed to be about - and certainly makes me very nervous about joining any Brockley bulletins.

If anyone could point me to a post that has some useful information about the subject of local nurseries (and not just Catherine House - I'm sure there are many other options) or even another website I would be grateful.

fabhat said...

Nica,

You may find this useful - although it has no advice it is a comprehensive list of childcare locally:

http://www.childcarelink.gov.uk/whitebox/childcaresearch.asp?vacancies=0&type1=1&type2=2&type3=3&type4=0&type5=0&type6=0&type7=0&type8=0&type9=0&type10=0&type11=0&type12=0&results=1&cisid=51056&town1=2396&town2=2397&town3=2392&town4=2398&town5=&schoolid=0

Good luck with finding somewhere you're happy with and ignore the slanging about nurseries - it's a (very) sore point with some posters...

Simone said...

Nica,

I took a look at the Oak Hill nursery based on Tamsin's recommendations on this page. It is fantastic! Go and take a look. But be warned: the waiting list is three years :-(

I also took a look at Hilly Fields but we decided it's too far for us. We'll be picking up little one by bike on the way home and we want a place that's near our commute paths.

This led us to look at nurseries in East Dulwich and Nunhead. East Dulwich nurseries are WAY oversubscribed, Lordship Lane = nappy valley, so it looks like it will be a nursery in Nunhead or Peckham for our precious Petunia.

Or a nanny share.

Or we sell her on eBay.

Or, a last resort, we ask Brangelina to adopt her.

Anonymous said...

If you have space in your home, get an au pair.

Tamsin said...

Sorry if slagging off Brockley Cross was inappropriate but they sold the business to the Early Bloomers lady some time ago now - just ahead of being closed down by Ofsted.

When I was needing childcare I found that childminders were the answer and in Lewisham they are well regulated and supported by the Children's Centres. Go to the Council for a list. Agree about commute paths - at the time I worked in Bromley and for a short while was cutting a swathe through the South East outer suburbs dropping of children as I went.

Au pairs and nannies are unregulated and to my mind an invasion of your own family privacy - that "qality time" in the evenings with either the child or a bottle of gin.

Simone said...

We would LOVE an au pair, we only have two bedrooms though.

Considered giving precious Petunia the space under the stairs so her room could be used by an au pair... but finally decided that as a regular muggle she probably needs a window in her room!

p.s. If we could fit an au pair in, we'd be okay about the loss of private family time, it's more important to us that PP has exposure to different cultures from as early as possible.

Simone said...

oops that sounded a bit preachy

Anonymous said...

Hard to tell if Simone is a wind up or not. Simple way to find out, do you buy fair trade coffee?

Bajan Lily said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brockley Newbie said...

Thanks for the tips, I am looking for a nursery place for my baby and I'd have to agree that there doesn't seem to be that many nurseries with available places for under-twos. That said, there have been quite a few valuable snippets of information in this thread for which I'm very grateful.

One thing though - we registered on the CH waiting list in March and had to pay £160. We were told this was not refundable even if they never offer us a place. My hubbie wasn't too pleased about that (but I'd already handed over the cheque - this was before I realised that most waiting lists are free or less than £50).Yes - sign me up for the 'muppet' award!

Finally, why are waiting lists so long? Is everyone duplicated on the same lists or are there really that many children in SE4?

Tamsin said...

There is quite a bit of fall-out from the waiting lists - at least from those ones that do not take a non-refundable deposit just to note your details. People move away or their plans change and I suspect that with the reality or perception of demand exceeding supply there is a significant amount of duplication.

What happens at Oak Hill is that the Manager gets in touch with firm offers two or three months before the places become available and at that point, on acceptance of the offer, we require a non-refundable deposit of, I think, a week's fees. Even so there are still drop-outs and "no-shows".

The lists are probably so long for both reasons that you suggest - a lot of families with young children and also the worry about getting a place anywhere so you put yourself down everywhere.

Tamsin said...

Actually - correction - looked back at the other posts and I see that it was in September that Oak Hill was making firm offers of places for the following February, so that is three or four months in advance rather than one or two.

However, because of the drop out rate and non-take up of offered places it would be worth putting yor name down for any nursery at any point. You might be lucky. The children who have been on the waiting list for ages are all growing older and, from the Nursery's point of view, they can't fill the place due to be given to an 8 month baby that does not, after all, turn up on the day with a two-year old from the list. (Not very clearly expressed but I hope you see what I mean.)

Brockley Newbie said...

Thanks Tamsin.

Ichi said...

Hi I have seen through the comment and feel that I have to leave comments to defend Hilly fields Nursery.

My son has been there since he was 5 months old for 15 months. My partner and me have been extremely satisfied with the quality of the carers. My son had severe eczema, he looked like peeled tomato and often bleeding by scratching. They made so much effort to take care of him and it wasn't easy. Onthe top of it, he has allergy of egg, cows milk, goat milk, wheat, soya, nuts, seeds. My son receives these allergy free food every day.

I am sure it depends on your needs and experience. I just wanted provide my experience at the nursery.

Elmi said...

My daughter has been going to Catherine House for two years and we are reasonably happy with the place. The staff seem to take a real interest in her and in spite of all the comments about communication problems I can't say that I have really experienced any significant lack of communication. But as one poster commented, the nursery uses notices on the front door as their main means of communication, so if you are rushed when dropping off/picking up, you may miss out.

I also looked at Cherryli nursery on Tyrwhitt Road, which is reasonably new. It seems quite nice - much smaller than catherine house, but staff seems friendly, especially in the baby unit. They focus a lot on art as the owner is an artist I believe - the place is full of the kids' artwork!

Anonymous said...

THis is really interesting and helpful. Thank you to everyone who has posted his/her thoughts.

We're looking for a nursery that will prepare children - we have b/g twins - for pre preps such as JAGS and Dulwich College.

While also being FUN and keeping hold of the fact that these are children not exam monkeys.

It is a difficult balance to strike but can anyone point me in vaguely the right direction?

Many thanks

Anonymous said...

Community Nurseries (such as St Andrews) are the best bet in most cases, as the staff are higher paid and have better and more structured ongoing training in general, than their conterparts in the private sector.

Anonymous said...

How can you even talk about exams and preparing for entry to Dulwich College at Nursery age???!!!

Tressilliana said...

Anon 14.37 - why do you want your children to go to pre-preps miles and miles away at 3? Surely it's best to send them to local schools at that very young age, so they can walk there and back and also walk to their friends' houses and to the park. There are many very good primary schools in SE4, all with nursery classes, and one absolutely superb nursery school (Chelwood).

What happens at 11 is a different matter, but it does bother me to think of tiny children never being part of their local community by going to school there.

an ex-Public Schoolboy said...

agree with Trssilliana here. If they get in the Public School stream from 3-4yo, they'll have little working memory of interacting on an equal level with the vast majority of the hoi-polloi who didn't, thus an unjustified feeling of superiority and entitlement might result. Be careful what you wish for.

Tamsin said...

And also point them in a direction by all means but, at 11, let them make their own choice. If a child is persuaded to go to one school when it would rather go to another if any problems, however minor, arise, then they are your fault as a parent and magnified out of all proportion. If the school is the child's choice, they know they have to abide by the consequences and are much more likely to cope.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the various points.

I might not have been clear, in which case sorry to have wasted your time.

I'm lookng for suggestions of nurseries which are accustomed to preparing children for these schools. I wasn't looking for views on the school decision.

Any nursery info much appreciated!

thanks everyone

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tressilliana said...

You may not have been looking for other people's views, Anon, but this is the internet and if you mention a contentious subject (and like it or not, drilling toddlers for a competitive exam is a contentious subject) you need to be prepared for dissenting views.

Anonymous said...

I guess the difference between us is that I wouldn't presume to offer you my opinion on how you proposed to educate your children. Each to his/her own though.

Any nursery info out there? Plenty of local HF families must have sent children to a nursery that preps for private school entry...

ppp said...

You have to take the rough with the smooth, when you expect free advice.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if anyone is reading this thread any more but, if so, can anyone recommend nanny agencies?

or, of course, better still, a nanny!?

ideally someone you have employed and who is leaving as your children are older now...

looking forward to hearing and sorry if this is the wrong place to post it.

Tamsin said...

Things drop off here rather quickly. Try posting in the Trades section and also sign up to the Forums on the hill website (link from the home page) and post your query in the Trades and Services Forum there.

debating nurseries said...

Hello, does anyone have experience of or advice regarding "Early Bloomers" please?

Anonymous said...

I have nothing but good to say about Hillyfields. My eldest started there in 2005, my youngest still goes. The staff turnover is very low- The same carers are now looking after the youngest that looked after the oldest. The atmosphere is nice and laid back, there's plenty of trips out, and the carers do a fab job. The fact that they're young doesn't mean they aren't fantastic.

It might not be hot-housing (education wise) children as ofsted prefer but every child I see is happy and well looked after.

I did also consider CH in 2005 but at the time they had an ofsted warning for using unsafe mattresses in the prams used for baby sleeping. Now corrected I believe but still, pretty major oversight.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any experience of the new nursery, Cherryli, on Tyrwhitt Road? Any feedback much appreciated!

Lala said...

Hi, my 2 year old girl has been going to Early bloomers for over a year now and she adores it.
The staff are very friendly and look after her very well, good communication with parents, only 1 change of staff since she started there. The only negative is the access and the entrance stairs if you have a buggy but apart from that I would recomment them.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Does anyone has a child/baby at Stepping Stones Montesori Nursery at Telegraph Hill? I'm looking for a nursery, went to visit them last week, liked what I saw but would love to hear personal experiences to make an informed decision.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

does anyone have an opinion on stepping stones nursery ? I liked the nursery but also liked oak hill

BM said...

I know this comment is a bit late but I wanted to warn others. To go on the waiting list for Stepping Stones Montesori Nursery you have to pay a non refundable deposit. I told the manager that I was going back to work in 12 months and they said I should have a place. When the year was up I was told that the waiting list was much longer 18 months - 2 years.

I have spoken to other mums and a few people feel they were mislead about the waiting list.

The nursery looks great, but I think the cash deposit is a bit of a con.

Beware.

silverfox said...

Just wondering if anyone has any recent experience of the Hilly Fields Day Nursery?

Bajan Lily said...

I've had two babies at Hillyfields between sept 2009 and June 2011. The older one started at 9 months. Throughout their time there they were happy, always excited to see their 'teachers' and always well looked after.

Mum of two said...

Both of my children went to Cherryli nursery on Tyrwhitt Road and loved it. It's a small and personal nursery with a homey feel. There are only 6 spaces in the baby room (6m-2y), and about 15-20 in the nursery (2y-5y). It's less of a cattle farm than some of the larger nurseries, but at the same time is big enough for the children to get lots of stimulation, and they do extra activities like baking or dance lessons. They are focussed on good behaviour, giving children boundaries, without stifling their spirit or creativity.

ama said...

We recently started our 1yo at SunriSE Community Nursery and have to say we've been really pleased with our experience so far. The facilities are great; it is purpose built with lots of outdoor play space, a fantastic sensory room, and a dedicated room and outdoor spaces for each age group. The carers we've experienced have ranged from good to fantastic and the communication has been strong so far. It's also excellent value for money, coming in as one of the least expensive of those we visited in Brockley. It is handy for those on or near Ivydale or living south west of the station. It previously operated as a Sure Start Centre and since funding stopped it has been taken over and has a board made up of parents. Right now the classes are small but I expect that to change as word spreads.

uruztiwaz said...

Hi, I'm still waiting for my LO to arrive, however need to get an idea of costs in order to work out if its worth going back to work!


Does anyone have an idea of how much it would cost to either nanny share or use a child minder? I've looked at local nurseries but it looks like they may be out of my budget range!

Katarina Micudova said...

Dear Family. Do you still looking for nanny? How many children do you have? Katarina

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