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How to pick the right nursery for your child

Published Date: 10 Sep 2020

Little boy sitting at a colourful table at nursery

It was really hard for me to think about putting my baby into nursery and leaving him while I went back to work, this would be difficult for any parent I'm sure, but for me it was just that little bit harder as Kenzie has additional needs. I wanted to make sure he felt safe and happy, and received the same care that he did at home. As I always say, each child and their circumstances are different and you need to decide what’s best for you as a family.

Kenzie started nursery when he was just eight months old, at this age he had already been wearing his hearing aids for six months and was doing really well with them. From an early age Kenzie was able to show some reaction to sound and was also aware when you called his name. When starting nursery it was important that I chose one that could accommodate his needs and would give him the full support he needed while also respecting my choices for him. It was such a hard decision to move him into nursery and hand over the responsibility to someone else to ensure that he was getting the amount of support and development he was getting at home. I spend all my time with Kenzie teaching him through play and helping him develop and learn to communicate. From the moment I found out about his hearing loss I knew I’d never let him fall behind. I wanted him to have the same opportunities as everyone else and show the world that deafness doesn't have to hold you back. It was important to me to ensure that his nursery would be able to continue this with him when I'm not there and have the same passion for his development that I do. 

After visiting different options including childminders at home and large and small nurseries, I found the perfect one for him. I decided a nursery would be more suitable for his social skills and help him to make friends with other children while also making sure that he had the attention he needed. 

His induction into nursery went really well. They allowed me to spend time with Kenzie while he settled in and I was able to work with the staff to show them everything they needed to know about caring for his hearing aids and his development needs. As Kenzie is being brought up bilingual, using British Sign Language (BSL) and speech, it was also important that they continued this with him. They sent staff on training and, as I completed my Level 1 BSL when I found out Kenzie was deaf, I also created little videos to support them. We’d also have a sign of the week that they would use at nursery and I would use at home. This really helped Kenzie’s communication grow and he started to pick up signs from a very early age, his first sign was ‘food’! They also have a sensory room which Kenzie loves and has made such a difference to his development. 

Kenzie grew very fond of his key workers and would love going to spend time with them to play. They always gave me regular updates on his progress and really respected his care routine and took to BSL really well. They added signs and pictures around the building to support his language and to help increase deaf awareness. I felt safe leaving Kenzie with them and knowing he’d have the same safe environment that he’d get at home.

When it came to Kenzie’s cochlear implant surgery in January, they were very supportive and were ready to learn about his new ‘ears’ and what else they could do to help his development. After the surgery, Kenzie didn't have any access to sound for four weeks until he was able to have his processors fitted. This is usual procedure to allow the implant to heal. This was such a shock to Kenzie as he had access to sound with his hearing aids and now had to get used to hearing nothing. Kenzie also had to learn to sit up and walk all over again following his op. This was a scary time and something we all had to support him with.

His nursery was very supportive and made sure that they helped him through this process, they allowed him to go back down to the baby room for a while until he was back up and steady on his feet. This meant he didn’t feel overwhelmed by the older children running around. It also meant we had to step up the use of BSL so Kenzie was able to communicate and not become frustrated.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, Kenzie only had a couple of sessions in his nursery with his cochlear implants following the switch-on. He spent six months at home which was great for his development as I was able to spend lots of time with him and get him used to his new hearing world. His nursery stayed in touch during this time and made sure everything was ready for him to return. 

Kenzie started back in nursery on the 1st September and it was like starting all over again with the same emotions from when he was a baby. The staff were amazing and stayed late one evening to take part in a session learning about his cochlear implants and how they work. They have also continued to use their BSL (although he doesn't need it as much now) to ensure he is using both languages.

They’ve said the difference in him is incredible. Since having the implants, he’s now able to say lots of words, sing and dance to music and can get involved with the group activities. They ensure they don't single him out and they use sign language within the group to encourage his friends to use it too. They treat Kenzie the same as all the other children and that's exactly what I wanted. 

They have now introduced an app that updates me on his progress throughout the day and I get to see lovely photos of him and what he's doing. This week they told me how Kenzie was "telling off" his friends and wouldn't let them leave the table for dinner until they said/signed "thank you" and he was showing them all how to do it.

Kenzie gets very excited about going to nursery and when we’re in the car he shouts: "School where are you?" and he signs ‘friends’. When he gets home he tells me all about his day. I ask him questions like, "Have you been playing with your friends today?" and he will say ‘yeah’ and sign ‘friends’. If you’re using sign language I’d definitely recommend introducing a sign of the week at nursery or school - it works a treat! 

I believe his nursery have played a huge part in his development and are part of the reason why he’s such a clever little superstar today!

So if you’re looking for my opinion on whether nursery is the right choice for my child, I would definitely say yes. If you’re thinking about it too, just make sure you find one that suits you and knows what you’re hoping to achieve. Make sure you have clear plans and goals in place about what you want for your child and make sure they’re happy to work with you and support you through it.


Becky is mum to Mackenzie (5), who is profoundly deaf. Mackenzie was fitted with cochlear implants in January 2020. Becky also blogs about family life, you can find her at @youdontneedtohear on Facebook.