Choosing a suitable nursery for your child

Every child needs to spread their wings a little as they enter the world of nursery and finding the right one for you both can be a daunting prospect. Leaving your child in the care of others can leave you with mixed emotions, so it’s important you find a nursery you trust and feel comfortable with.

When taking the first step to finding a suitable nursery, it’s always worth asking around for recommendations from friends and family. You can read Ofsted reports online for these nurseries and find out how they are being judged compared to others in your local area. The internet is an extremely beneficial tool as you can look at forums and websites such as Mums Net to find out what other parents are saying about the nurseries in your area, whilst checking the nurseries own website to note down how they present themselves.

When you have shortlisted some nurseries for your child, you can book a visit to go and look around their facilities and meet the staff. It’s at these visits you can judge the friendliness and environment for yourself.

Nursery Visit Checklist

First contact with nursery
Was the phone answered quickly when you called?
Was the person you spoke to friendly and helpful?
If you left a message was your call returned in a timely manner?
If you requested information did you receive it?
How do you feel at this stage about the nursery?
Visit to the nursery
Were you warmly greeted on arrival?
What security arrangements are available at the nursery to keep your child safe?
Were you met and greeted by the manager or deputy?
Did they answer any questions you had?
Did the person showing you around seem knowledgeable?
Were they interested in you and your child?
Were you given all the information you needed on your visit?
Did the entrance to the nursery give a good impression?
Was the nursery clean and well organised?
Were the rooms bright and airy?
Were the displays of children’s work appealing?
Did the equipment look clean and in good order?
When you entered rooms were the children engaged in play or activities with staff?
Did the staff seem interested in the children in the nursery? Were they talking to them and engaging with them?
Did the activities that the children were doing seem age appropriate, interesting and stimulating?
How do the nursery assess children’s progress and development and share the information with you?
Does the nursery have an outdoor play area and is it well equipped?
Do the menus and meals served appear to be nutritious and appealing?
Can the nursery provide for specific dietary requirements?
What percentage of the nursery team are fully qualified?
How many staff have first aid qualifications?
Does the nursery employ any qualified teachers and what roles do they have?
What percentage of the children get into the school of their choice when they leave the nursery?
Did you come out of the nursery feeling confident enough to leave your child in the care of the nursery team?
Did you come out of the nursery feeling that you could relate to and interact well with the Manager/Deputy on a daily basis?
Interaction after your visit
Did the nursery keep in touch with you?
Was any further information requested forwarded?
Were you invited back to the nursery for a stay and play?
Do the nursery fees appear to represent value for money?
Are the nursery fees inclusive of everything or do you need to provide/pay for any extras?
I believe that you will know on that first visit if the nursery is right for your child, but if you are unsure ask to visit again at a different time of day.

It’s likely you will know from your initial visit if the nursery is right for your child, but if you’re still unsure, you can always request another visit.

When you find the one, you need to register as quickly as possible, as many nurseries are extremely popular and some even have waiting lists. Ultimately, you need to do what is right for your child and find an environment they will thrive in.

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