The drive-thru nursery

by SARAH HARRIS, Daily Mail

Working parents pushed for time will soon be able to drop their children off at the country's first 'drive-thru' nursery.

The £1million nursery is designed to help harassed families who struggle to find parking spaces in an area heavily policed by traffic wardens.

They will pull into a specially-built carport area, drop their children off with staff and then continue their journey.

The development, in a former post office depot, has received lottery funding and will cater for 128 children aged three months to five years.

Called Paint Pots, it will open in Stockport early next year. It is an offshoot of another Paint Pots nursery in Manchester, which caters for 80 children.

Director David Carol said: 'The new nursery will be a drive-thru, but parents will still have to come in to register their children with staff.

'But it will be a very quick process, and I think they could be in and out of the nursery and on their way within two minutes. It's not McDonald's though.'

Mr Carol said parents could still come in and talk to staff about their children if they wished to do so.

He added: 'We have already had a lot of inquiries about the nursery, and I should imagine we will be full up before long.'

Paint Pots manager Judy Rigby said the carport area would help tackle the problems busy parents faced when trying to park.

She said: 'We already have a lot of worries over traffic wardens because they won't let people pull up outside our current nursery.

'They have to go and find a parking space in the centre of Manchester before they can drop their children off at the nursery.

'There's nothing worse than having to park two or three streets away and then drag a newborn baby through the city centre in the pouring rain.

'The carport will be on our new premises, so no one will be able to stop parents from pulling up.'

However, Paint Pots staff would not be collecting children from cars.

She added: 'Parents will still have to get out of their vehicle, take their child into the nursery and leave them with a member of staff.

'But they will be doing it quickly in a secure, dry area.'

Educationalists had reservations about the drive-thru plan. They said that very young children might find it distressing to be 'swiftly dropped off' without their parents having time to settle them in.

And they warned against nurseries 'becoming like fast-food outlets'.

Lesley Abbott, professor of childhood education at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: 'The relationship between the carer and the parent is very important. But if the youngsters were just dumped at the nursery, there would be no opportunity to tell the carer about the child's needs or their behaviour.'

Prof Abbott added: 'It is in complete contrast to the system in Sweden where parents are invited to have a cup of coffee and chat with the carers.

'I believe a drive-thru nursery is a retrograde step for early years childcare.

'It shows that parents are putting their needs before the needs of their children.'

Nick Seaton, of the Campaign for Real Education, commented: 'It seems like a factory line nursery, and parents won't have time to talk in depth to staff.

'It could also be dangerous if they are trying to rush them inside in a queue of traffic.'

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