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Nursery Guide: finding the right nursery

Updated: Mar 6



Choosing the right nursery can be pretty daunting as you essentially have to take a leap of faith and trust someone else to take care of your little one.


There are many factors to consider like location, type of care, ethos etc. We recommend you research your local nurseries and book in to visit multiple so that you can compare these and choose the one that works best for you.


On these visits take your child with you if possible so that you can see how the staff interacts with them and if they like the look of it as well!


Remember: never leave this till the last minute as many nurseries have waiting lists.


We’ve compiled a handy checklist to help you with your decision-making!



Location, hours, and size

· Do you want a nursery close to home or your place of work?

· Would you prefer a small or large nursery for your little one?

· Is the nursery open term-time or all year round?

· Is there parking if you need it?

· Does the nursery have space available for your preferred start time?


Staff

· Are the staff welcoming and friendly?

· How many staff members have a paediatric first aid qualification?

· How does the nursery communicate with staff?

· What is the ratio of children to staff?

· How do staff interact with children?

· What happens if staff are off ill?

· What’s the settling-in policy and who would be your key person?


Reviews

· Is it recommended by other parents? Check out Daynurseries.co.uk, google reviews and social media to see what parents are saying about the nursery

· Does it provide a high standard of care? Check the Ofsted website to see the nursery inspection report and rating.

· Has it earned any awards? For example, the daynurseries.co.uk award, Millie’s Mark, NDNA champions programmes or Investors in People.


Behaviour

· How does the nursery promote good behaviour?

· How does the nursery deal with challenging behaviour?

· What’s the potty-training policy?


Safeguarding

· Is everything clean and safe?

· How secure is the nursery?

· Do children look happy and settled?

· What extra safeguarding steps does the nursery take when the children are on an outing?


Food

· Do they offer cooked food, or will you need to provide a packed lunch?

· If they offer hot food, do they cater to your child’s allergies/intolerances/dietary needs?

· How do they deal with fussy eaters?

· What’s their food hygiene rating?


Facilities

· What learning resources do they have?

· Do they have diverse books and toys?

· Is there a good outdoor area that children can access freely?


Activities

· Is there a set routine children follow?

· Does the nursery put on extra activities like yoga or mindfulness?

· What is the nursery ethos?

· Can children have a nap if they need to and is there a designated area for this?

· Does it run Forest School sessions?

· What’s the nursery's sickness and medication policy?


Fees

· Do they offer funding options?

· Do you need to pay extra for nappies, formula milk and snacks?

· Are there any hidden costs?


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