Max is now in his second term at nursery school and he is loving it! He was so ready for it all and the staff there are brilliant. Here are my tips for what to look out for, if your little one will be starting soon.
1. Check that the nursery you choose is registered with Ofsted. You can ask to see the report or you can look it all up online – I think this is key. It details the quality of nursery education and care and the appropriateness of the equipment and facilities
2. You have to visit the nursery! Due to some crazy circumstances and the one we planned on Max going to closing really soon before term started, we didn’t actually visit it. Luckily it is brilliant. So if you have normal circumstances you must visit. When you visit think about:
- Do you receive a warm welcome and does the atmosphere feel ‘homely’.
- Is there a safe, stimulating & regularly used outside play area. Max’s fave – so important.
- Is the interior bright, attractive, clean, well decorated, warm and light.
- Is the equipment good quality, clean, safe and age appropriate.
- Think about how you’d be getting there. If you’s be driving, what are the parking facilities like etc.
3. Will food be provided? If so, what will it be? How is it prepared etc.
4. Look at the children in the nursery, do they appear to be happy and well occupied? Are the children using a variety of equipment & are the staff involved? What are the ratios for caring for your child? There is a legal limit that they have but some will use the minimum amount possible, others will have plenty staff.
5. Are the staff happy, relaxed, well presented, calm and confident? What are the qualifications & stability of the staff & are they all trained in Paediatric First Aid, CRB checked & reference checked? Who is in charge? Feel free to ask them all of these kinds of questions and more. They’ll be expecting it and be happy to answer it all.
6. Will your child be attached to a key person who will be your main contact and will keep you informed? They use an online system at Max’s nursery so I can view his learning journal and what he’s been doing – it is brilliant. See if they have a similar system in place.
7. What will the charge be? What does this include? How does it work when the government funding comes in? This is so different everywhere it seems – Max and two of his cousins are all at different ones and the funding / additional payments works differently at each one.
8. What provision is there for activities, potty training, emergency procedures, discipline & other nursery policies? Some will need your child to be potty trained, others will not.
9. Have you & your child enjoyed your visit? Have you been offered a visit & trial sessions to settle your child into Nursery?
10. Speak to friends and family – personal recommendations are an excellent start, alongside the Ofsted report, in my opinion.
Anything else that you think is important to add? You want to make sure your little one is happy so its worth taking the time to look into it, I think.