D. took a day off and all three of us could go and visit the institution in the afternoon. The building itself is a detached house with its garden full of playground games (swings, seesaws, climbing castle, slide etc.). The gate is locked in order not to let in strangers and not to let out the kids. Kati néni opened the gate for us. She was very welcoming and kind. Inside we met one of the crèche nurses (her name I've forgotten). In the hall area you can take off your shoes. It's all colourful and nicely decorated. Even if it is the entrance full of shoes and coats, it's neat and well organised.
The crèche area (nursery for babies under 3) is separated from the nursery. There is a kitchen area where they prepare elevenses and afternoon snacks for the kids, or heat up the food they order for lunch. There are 2 playing rooms for the little ones (i.e. there are two groups), maximum 8 babies in each. The youngest child now is one year old (just like E.) as the nurse told us. The playroom is full of colourful toys (everything had been put back on the shelves and into cupboards as it was after 15:30 and all the babies had been take home already). E. started to cruise along the furniture and pack down the toys. She had a wide smile on her face. She felt comfortable immediately. And we, parents as well. We asked our questions and got very impressive and informative answers. Here are some of them which I found important to know:
- every group has 2 nurses: one Hungarian-speaking, one English-speaking (still the latter is Hungarian nationality)
- the English-speaking nurse communicates in English with the kids all day (food time, preparation for sleeping, potty training, activities etc.)
- every day different skills are in focus (visual, musical, movement etc.) in both languages
- English activities are in the afternoon (short ones in the crèche and longer sessions in the nursery) with a teacher who is specialised in kid's English
- there's a native nurse in the nursery - the natives are there for 6-week periods - they are kind of trainee nurses (at the moment they have one from Australia) and spend time both with the little ones and the older kids too
- they close only for 2 weeks in the summer
We look around in the other playroom, checked what beds they use, we also saw the little toilets (which were very clean and the kids' stuff in nice order). Then we had a look at the playground, and much to my surprise, the native nurse, who was sitting by the side of the sandpit where a little boy was playing, didn't say a word to him. On the other hand, 2 little girls (4-5 years old) were playing in English, though there were no English speaking adults around them.
Our overall impression was great. They reacted at our enquiries very quickly, the staff are young, energetic and kind, with some elderly members - as the warm-hearted Granny substitutes. The atmosphere is cosy and relaxed, there is order and organised system. The English language is also in focus all day (though I can't say it for 100% sure, only after E. has started going there). There are lot of other activities one can choose from (see also their homepage). Last but not least, their monthly fee is reasonable (basic price: 55 000 HUF/ month and 700 HUF/day for food plus extra activities - optional).
What we have decided to do is to wait one more year and from 2014 September E. will attend the crèche, first, one or two days a week, then slowly more. Then I'll come back to this topic and share our experiences.