The fantastic Nursery Owner at Monkey Puzzle Maidenhead, Prerna Shah, recently spoke to Anna Collins at the Families Thames Valley East magazine about what parents should look for when searching for a nursery to ensure you have the best fit for your child and family.
You can read the full article below and read the full magazine here.
What is it about your nursery that parents love?
We build positive partnerships with parents and carers to ensure their child learns and thrives at the nursery. We use an online portal to update parents with the regular posts that show off pictures and videos of the amazing learning experiences the children enjoy each day. This also allows parents to communicate with their child’s key person.
Describe your nursery in 10 words
We create an environment where children, their families and our team continue to learn, share, laugh and grow.
When would you recommend starting to look for a nursery and what are the main things to look out for?
I would say, look for a nursery space as soon as your child is born or even during pregnancy. The main things to look out for are:
• Safety and Security: Is your child going to be safe and secure in the setting?
• Staff from all age groups: A balance of older and younger staff works really well for children so they can learn from all! That way children receive love and nurturing as well as energy and enthusiasm.
• With technology around us, it’s important for children to explore and enjoy nature.
An outdoor space for children to play in is a huge bonus to their well-being.
What would a typical day look like at your nursery?
A typical day here at Monkey Puzzle starts with a healthy breakfast, followed by activities, garden time, snack and lunch time; afternoon nap followed by healthy snack, activities (messy play, sensory, dance, music, sports, etc) followed by tea and indoor/outdoor activities before home time.
How do you incorporate outside activity into the children’s daily routine?
Our outdoor play equipment promotes open ended play in the garden, encouraging children to explore and learn. We have an excellent selection of moveable items to bring physical play to the garden. These build confidence in both gross motor skills and climbing, and fine motor skills with creative outdoor learning. Monkey Puzzle Maidenhead offers a special gardening area where we grow our own vegetables, plants and herbs. The children help the practitioners look after the plants, digging, raking, watering and then harvesting the crop. We don’t just study the plants; we also study the bugs and insects that live there too.
All our children get the opportunity to go on local educational trips, and whether it be to the local shops or places of interest, we always risk assess our outings to ensure children are safe and secure while they are out and about.
We organise a variety of outings, trips and various experiences for all age groups. For example: visits to a local park, a farmer’s fruit & veg market, Costa Coffee, a local supermarket and Odds Farm Park and we have visits from key professionals in the community too, such as Zoolab and the Fire Brigade and Thames Valley Police as well as the all-important icecream van!
Starting nursery can be a big step for parents as well as children. How do you help children settle in and ensure parents still feel involved?
At Monkey Puzzle Maidenhead we recognise that each child, parent, and nursery relationship is unique, and we use our experience to support everyone in making that transition into nursery life as smooth as possible.
Our settling in sessions are unique and tailored to each individual child and their needs. The children’s wellbeing and happiness is our priority. The parents and staff work in partnership to provide each child with accurate starting points to begin to ‘scaffold’ their learning throughout their Monkey Puzzle journey. We have an effective key person system in place and this starts from the first session.
How do you support children with additional needs?
We have a SENCO in the nursery and we work with the RBWM SEND team to support children with additional needs.
If you would like to visit the nursery (located on Grenfell Road, Maidenhead), contact Prerna directly on 01628 637642 or email email@example.com.
Nursery Owner – Monkey Puzzle Maidenhead
I am the Managing Director of Monkey Puzzle Day Nursery, Maidenhead. My main task is ensuring the nursery has everything in place to provide a happy healthy environment, where children can grow and provide peace of mind to our parents, that their children are in excellent care.
My background of 20 years in Project Management which included managing, and mentoring large teams definitely is an asset to my current role in the nursery. I am a proud mum of two, and I appreciate the challenges of being in full-time employment and teaming this with involvement in our children’s education.