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The East Dulwich Forum
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messageAdvice about local nurseries
Posted by Liz2016 June 28, 11:31AM

I'm looking to register my three-year old in a nursery in the East Dulwich/Herne Hill area starting this September. We need year-round care, five days a week until 6 pm. Does anyone have experience of Under the Willow? The forest school element appeals, but I wonder what the kids actually think of it and how much they benefit. Feedback about this and any other nurseries in the area would be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

messageRe: Advice about local nurseries
Posted by Digbina July 01, 10:22AM

We've been very happy with Ruskin House School (a nursery, despite its name) at 74 Herne Hill. My son had a fabulous time, he learned lots without being forced or pushed, he made many friends and I found the staff to be unfailingly kind and warm. There is good outside space with a mud kitchen, a pond (completely safe!), and a garden where the children have been growing tomatoes. It's a really nice place. It's also open until 7pm!

I would NOT recommend The Villa. My son got out of the building through a broken/unlocked front door and the Villa's response was to blame my then three year old son and play down the severity of the incident. Luckily this view wasn't shared by the council who conducted a non-routine audit of their safeguarding practices.

messageRe: Advice about local nurseries
Posted by Ninjapig July 01, 09:42PM

Digbina that incident with your son sounds worrying. Was he able to leave the grounds and walk out on to the street?

messageRe: Advice about local nurseries
Posted by Digbina July 02, 01:24PM

Luckily my nanny arrived just he was stepping out of the door. There was a gate between him and the street, but it was often propped open by cleaners, bin collectors, other parents etc (there was a block of wood there for this very purpose!) and staff were not present at the gate. This was around the time there had been a couple of kidnapping attempts in ED. I moved him to another nursery with fingerprint recognition locks on the doors.

What really worried me was the way the staff and management just didn't seem that bothered. My nanny took my son back to the garden at the back of the building and they didn't realise he'd gone nor how long he'd been gone for. His key worker said he should have told them he was leaving the garden! He was three. The manager didn't notify us of what had happened until a couple of days later - prompted, I would guess, by our complaint to Ofsted that morning. Southwark Council told me that in their view it was a clear breach of the EYFS regulations which require children to be within sight or hearing at all times.

I should add that in the past the Villa has had my posts about this incident deleted by telling the admin they have 'legal implications'. I have three law degrees and can't say I'm sure exactly what they mean by that.


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