What to Look for in a Nursery School

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.

Rebecca x

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  • Couldn’t send Bo unless it was completely free!! Haha. I don’t mind paying for the lunch hour because it’s nice to have him at nursery the whole day. It’s really cool that you have an online system, I find preschool a lot different to his baby nursery because they would tell you every little thing thing they’ve done but now they just come running out to you and he’s ‘forgotten’ what he’s done.

  • Good questions. I may have to cut and paste these and use them next week when I go to visit my first nursery for my 8 month old! I am dreading sending her to be honest. Not until she in 1yr old though. Still got a few months left to hold on to her tight!

  • Nice tips! My son is in Foundation Stage now and I think that him being enrolled in his nursery is nice as a lot of his classmates from there is also his classmates here. So its just like an extension of his nursery class. Adjusting for him is easier. #sharewithme

  • I deffs agree with visiting. I didn’t think it was important, but the 1st one I visited just didn’t feel right yet on paper it was amazing. When we visited the Montessori one they are now both at I felt relaxed straight away and connected instantly with everyone. It was so lovely and theyre both settled and happy!

  • Definitely go visit. We just went to about seven for Buba and have applied now its all a waiting game. So nerve racking for school and it was the same for nursery preschool too. You will know when it feels right don’t you? Lovely post. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. #sharewithme