Choosing the right nursery for your family

As childcare providers and fellow parents, we know just how important it is to ensure your children receive the best possible care when at nursery. We also know that choosing the perfect nursery for your family isn’t an easy task and can become pretty daunting. You will have a tonne of questions, yet feel like you haven’t asked the right ones, or asked enough!

To make things a little easier, we have compiled a list of important points that will help with making these tough decisions. We encourage you to ask/research these when enquiring at any nursery.

Routines, activities and resources.

  • Is there an engaging outdoor environment with lots of interesting spaces and resources?
  • Does the nursery operate a free flow system that allows children to go outside and inbetween different rooms freely as and when they please?
  • Is there a curriculum in place with daily planned activities and specific targets that will enable each child to reach their full potential?
  • Is the nursery warm, inviting and a home from home environment?
  • Are the children that already attend happy and engaged? (Don’t let the noise put you off – a noisy nursery is usually a busy, fun filled one!)
  • Is there a large range of interesting and engaging resources available?
  • Does the nursery follow a daily routine? If so, what would your child’s daily routine look like?
  • Do the opening hours work for your family and are they flexible with session times?
  • Are the meals available healthy, well balanced and nutritious?
  • What is their food hygiene rating?

Induction programmes and nursery staff.

  • Does the nursery operate unlimited settling in sessions? For example, we offer unlimited settling in sessions and will never start a child until they are fully settled with us. Some nurseries may have a limit on how many of these sessions children can have.
  • Are staff happy and interacting with children in a fun, kind and caring way?
  • Is the nursery attentive to children’s needs?
  • Is the nursery exceeding guidelines on qualified staff of at least level 3? Nurseries must have an acceptable amount of qualified staff and should never have too many trainees.
  • Are you able to meet the owner and is he/she hands on within the nursery?
  • Are all the staff DBS checked?
  • Will your child be appointed a key worker? This will be your child’s main care giver and will be responsible for observing and helping your child to meet their targets.
  • If your child has additional needs, what support can the nursery put in place to ensure all of your child’s needs are met?

Ofsted and nursery policies.

  • Are you able to view the nursery policies? (Especially the nurseries behaviour policy.)
  • Do the policies meet your expectations/beliefs?
  • Are policies and procedures up to date?
  • Is the nursery Ofsted registered? They should be able to provide you with a unique registration number. Nursery ratings, reports and activity can be viewed here https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/childcare.
  • Never accept anything less than a rating of ‘good’.

To download a handy PDF version, click download below.