My younger daughter moves up to new nursery class next week. I want to find some way of thanking the staff that have looked after her. I know that they get paid to look after my daughter, but they spend eight hours a day, three days a week with her and she talks about them all so fondly that I want to show my appreciation in some small way. So I started researching Top 10 Leaving gifts for nursery staff.
I asked some friends that work in nurseries along with some primary school teachers and I discovered a lot of gifts that don’t go down well.
What not to buy
Whilst homemade cakes and biscuits are thoughtful they are also a BIG no-no. When you have seen little Jack sit with his finger up his nose or scratching his bottom, receiving homemade goodies can be a little off putting for nursery staff.
I always thought a box of chocolates or biscuits were a great option as they are easy to share. But, apparently, staff will receive lots of these and they may not be eaten.
Toiletries are another popular option, however, they are personal and you may not be aware of particular allergies or sensitivities. So they often ended up being donated to charity.
Mugs are another common gift but, again, they only need one mug, not several.
And finally. Wine. This is another conventional gift which would be very well received by me, particularly if it has bubbles in it. However, not everyone drinks alcohol.
What to buy
So there we are. All my usual gift options have been rejected. But I am still left with the problem of what to buy. So I did a bit more research and I finally came up with these Top 10 Leaving gifts for nursery staff.
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1. Homemade Card (key worker and nursery staff)
By far the most valued gifts by nursery staff and teachers are homemade cards. Particularly those that include drawings and words penned by your child. And don’t forget to add some kind words yourself. Everyone likes to know how appreciated they are and even better if you can give specific examples.
2. Vouchers (key worker)
John Lewis vouchers or Amazon vouchers are always well received. Even better, if there are a few children leaving at the same time, then club together to buy a larger value voucher. This pretty, flower pot Amazon voucher is fun as the flowers can be pulled up to reveal a £20 Amazon Voucher.
If you know your key worker well then buy him or her vouchers for stores that you know they love (Topshop, Foot Locker etc.)
3. Spa Voucher (key worker)
Treat your child’s key worker to a beauty treatment of their choice (manicure, pedicure, etc.) at the local beauty salon by buying a gift voucher. Although probably not a good option if your key worker is a man!
4. Montezuma’s Chocolate Library (nursery staff)
Whilst nursery staff receive many boxes of chocolates, these Chocolate Libraries by Montezuma’s are slightly different as each member of staff can take a bar home and indulge whenever they want. Chocolate libraries cost £13.99 for five bars and come in a wide range of flavours.
5. Treasure Chest (nursery staff)
Either make or buy a treasure chest and fill with chocolate coins, lottery tickets and scratch cards. We make a treasure chest every Christmas for the nursery and it always goes down well. Last year someone won £60.
If you want to buy one, then check out this papier mâché version from Hobbycraft which you or your child can decorate. Alternatively, if you are up for a challenge, then try making a treasure chest by using the printables from this tutorial from Tim Van De Vall.
6. Pot Plant (key worker or nursery staff)
Whilst flowers are well received they don’t last very long. However, a pretty pot plant has longevity and can either be kept in the nursery or taken home. I bought some colourful pot plants from Tesco for my mum for Mother’s Day for 99p each and they are still going strong five months on. To give it a personal touch, you could buy one of these chalkboard pots from Hobbycraft (£3) and ask your child to decorate it with some chalk (50p) drawings.
7. Break time Essentials (nursery staff)
Give the staff room a bit of an upgrade by filling a canvas bag with a selection of posh teas (Pukka Teas are beautifully packaged), coffee, drinking chocolate, marshmallows and a variety of biscuits. If you club together with other parents, you could even splash out on some funky tea, coffee and sugar containers.
To make it more personal perhaps add a multi aperture photo frame containing photos of each of the children leaving which can be hung in the staff room. This photo frame from Hobbycraft has 12 small frames (7.5cm x 7.5cm) surrounding one large central frame. This is perfect for holding photos of the children complete with a thank you message in the middle.
8. Sweetie Jar (key worker or nursery staff)
Buy a retro sweetie jar and fill with sweets to keep in the staff room. To give it a homemade touch, ask your child to draw a picture and/or write thank you on a label and attach to the jar with some colourful ribbon.
9. Burt’s Bees Toiletries (key worker)
Whilst I have already poo-pooed toiletries, if you do feel the urge to go down that route, then Burt’s Bees is a good option. Their products are hypoallergenic as they use natural ingredients plus there a wide range of gift sets available. Burt’s Bees gift sets cost between £6.50 and £35. I particularly like this Wild for Bees Gift set (£19.99) which includes two lip balms, a hand salve and wild flower seeds (to attract bees) all contained in a honeypot style tea light holder.
10. Home Made Coaster (key worker or nursery staff)
Buy some Tile Coasters (£3.49) and Porcelain Paint Pens (£9.99) from Baker Ross and create your own coasters. The tile coasters come in a set of six so if your child can concentrate for that long, then you may have enough to make a coaster for each member of staff in their class.
Over to you
Do you work in a nursery or a school? What gifts have you received that have gone down well with you that you would like to share?