How do you capture the essence of your nursery? What makes your nursery different to the one down the road?
Does it matter?
The answer is yes – it matters a lot. When people are looking for a nursery, it’s a bit like when they are looking for a house.
Both are extremely important decisions. But bizarrely, these important decisions are made within seconds of entering a house for sale, or a nursery.
If you are buying a house, you are buying a home. This is somewhere that will be your sanctuary in a busy world. It is the place that you will return to again and again. Where you will cook, eat, read, play, work, live and breathe. You will spend a huge proportion of your time there in a completely vulnerable state when you are asleep, so it must be secure. It’s a big expense, whether you are buying or renting, and it is tricky to move and choose somewhere else.
So for such an important decision, obviously you spend a lot of time researching all the available options, deciding exactly how many rooms you want, the location, the local schools, shops, takeaways, transport links, the neighbours, previous sale prices….
Then you walk into a house, and within a minute you are in love.
So, it’s a bit further away from work than you wanted – OK, we’ll leave earlier.
You wanted four bedrooms, and this has three – OK, guests can sleep on the sofa bed downstairs.
It’s in a different school catchment area – OK, it’s good for children to learn to make new friends quickly…
It’s more expensive than you planned – OK, we’ll save money somewhere else.
Much as the Economics lecturers and Scientists would have us believe that humans are rational and make rational, well-thought out decisions, we are irrational. We make decisions in a heartbeat, and we base them on thousands of bits of information, most of which we don’t even know that we have noticed.
This is what happens when a parent or carer is looking for a nursery for their child.
They will come up with a list of requirements, a budget and an idea about what they want. I did this myself when I was looking for a nursery for my daughter.
I looked around several – and then I avoided phone calls from the ones that I didn’t like. I didn’t want to have to say that I didn’t like them…
And when I made my decision, it was made instantly. I went to look around a nursery and I just knew that it was where I was going to leave my daughter.
I had been to see nurseries where the staff seemed unfriendly. They were probably really busy doing all the important things that Early Years Practitioners do, but they didn’t make eye contact and smile, and some avoided looking at me. This did not make me feel confident about leaving my child with them.
One nursery smelled delicious, because they were baking cakes. I really liked that one.
One nursery just seemed so… loud. I didn’t want my baby to be surrounded by such a racket. How would she be heard? How would she learn to speak? How would she sleep with all that going on?
One nursery had a child sitting at a table with a snotty nose. I know that children always have runny noses, but in that snapshot moment, I worried that my daughter would have a runny nose and nobody would help her to blow it.
One nursery had a beautiful display with about thirty identical cotton wool collages of sheep. Some people would have loved that – I didn’t. I prefer free form expression and creativity. Read my blog post here: Every Child Is An Artist
You see where I’m going here? Every body has things that they respond positively or negatively to and most of us don’t even realise why.
So yes, choosing a nursery is like choosing a house.
Some people love modern, light, airy, purpose-built, brand-spanking-new nurseries.
Some people love old, traditional, homely, cosy and comfortable nurseries.
Some people love nurseries that their friends go to.
Some people don’t want nurseries that their neighbours go to.
Some people want to pay for the exact number of days they use.
Some people want fixed monthly instalments.
Some people want their children playing outside in the fresh air all the time.
Some people would be horrified if their child went outside in the rain.
Different people like, and love, different things.
So what do you love about your nursery? What do your staff love about it? What do your parents and families love about it?
Find out. Discuss at staff meetings. Understand your strengths. Make sure the whole team understands your strengths and is proud to be part of the team.
Then tell everybody about what you do and why you are amazing. Even better, show them.
Then when the right people… your people… get to know about you, it’s a match made in heaven.
That’s how you grow a reputation for being fab. By being fab for your customers, your families, your children and your staff.
Understand your best customers, who you can be amazing for, and then let them know you are there, and they will come 🙂
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