Our son (Josh) went to Nursery in the UK and let me tell you things are very different here than over there.
In the UK nearly every day I had to sign an accident form saying Josh bumped his head or Josh fell over, etc.
Here he has been at Kindy (as they call it) for 3 months and I haven't once had to sign a form, even though they know and I know he's bumped himself. They
seem to allow children to be children and accept that bumps and scrapes are all part of it.
In the UK they provided his meals.
Here we have to provide all his meals. I know there are many others also who do not provide food, however I think more are introducing meal provision.
Daily cost in the UK was about £25.
Daily cost here is (approx) $48 which is around £20, however you get payments towards Kindy fee's by Centrelink which are automatically knocked off your bill
at Kindy (which depend on your income) and then either at the end of the tax year if you keep all your receipts when you complete your tax return you get
more money back dependant on what you paid or every quarter you get a rebate automatically which is now 50% of all monies paid.
In the UK security was tight, we had to ring a bell to be allowed in with the door then re-locked behind us, we had to wait for the door to be unlocked to be
allowed out, sometimes waiting quite a while if the key holder was busy.
Here there are gates that children can't open as the catch is too high up and the staff monitor who comes and goes, but you just let yourself in and out
(please be aware that this is our experience from ones we have seen and may not apply to everyone).
Please be assured though that children have to be signed in and out as they do in the UK and if someone new turns up to collect a child they are not allowed
to leave without parental consent. My mother came with me to collect Josh one day and they wanted to know who she was even though she was with me.
Our personal experience of Kindy:
Well, it's taken nearly 4 months to relax into it!
We were quite surprised at the waiting lists here, there are lots of nurseries but they have small group sizes so places even for 2 - 3 year olds are in demand. In the UK
we found it hard to get places for babies but as they got older there were lots of available places (this was the case where we lived), but they had large numbers of
staff, in Josh nursery in Cleveleys, Lancashire, there were 32 children in his class and lots of staff to monitor them. Here staff numbers are 2 in his class so the size is
much smaller. If you want to get a baby in Kindy here the waiting lists as long, similar to the UK. My sister has enquired at Kindys in Sydney for her baby and the
waiting list is over a year for under one's, this means that people are booking children into Kindy before they are pregnant...forward planning or psychic powers?!?!
Josh first went to one nursery which was very nice and the staff were good but it was more like a baby sitting service and the staff didn't really 'give' much. When we
picked him up, if his particular member of staff wasn't around nobody could tell me how he'd been. I found this very disturbing, especially after the precision of his
nursery in the UK, there they would tell you everything he'd done and they kept a daily diary, individually for each child.
The nursery he is at now is much better, the staff have lots of input and it has recently been taken over and lots of improvements are occurring. It's extra work having
to pack his lunches and 2 year olds can be so fussy it's tricky sometimes as you don't constantly want to give him the same thing. Also you have to provide the sheets
and blankets for sleep time which again is a new thing for me, I think we were a bit spoilt in the UK by what was given. It has taken a while to get used to being able to
just walk in and the feedback is getting better, more through my persistent questions on his daily activities than anything though. They don't keep a diary but that's not
a bad thing, on many occasions in the UK the staff would be busy trying to complete the diaries and not spending that time interacting with the children.
I had issues with the falling at first, not because Josh had fallen, he's 2 he's always tumbling and getting filthy, but because I was so used to completing the accident
forms and being given information sheets about head injuries. To suddenly be told that accidents are OK felt a little weird, but now I'm used to it it's fabulous that
children are allowed to be exactly that...children!
I think a major issue in the UK is being sued, whereas they don't seem to have that same mentality here yet, I'm sure it will follow in time, but while it's not here I'm just
going to go with it and do as they do...relax!
Josh stroking a Kangaroo at
For all you parents of younger children, they 'do not' and I repeat 'do not' sell Pampers here, nightmare!
Baby formula has different names than the UK, you will need to contact the manufacturer and ask them for the name of their parent company, so you can see what the
Australian version of your child's formula is.
Copyright 2006 Karen Atkinson
In Australia lollies are sweets and lollipops are lollipops, ice blocks are ice lollies and ice pops,
just thought I'd give you a 'heads up' on that one.