As most of you know, K started nursery at the start of February and is absolutely loving it. I thought I would be one of those mummy’s who would drop their child off for their first day and be a snivelling, snotting mess. I did leave her with a slightly heavy heart but I was more proud of her than anything and I was happy that she was starting her new adventure as I think it is something she has been craving for a while now. It made it easier to leave her knowing that she was in the right nursery for her and that she was in safe hands. We had viewed a few nurseries in the run up to K starting the one she is at now and I think it’s important to make sure you chose the most perfect one you can find to fit your child’s needs. I have outlined below what helped us choose the right nursery for K and some tips on what to look out for when making your decision.
- Make sure you visit the nursery before you send your child to it and try to view it when it’s busy. When my husband and I were looking for a nursery we both went together but found that because it was towards the end of the day (the only time my hubby could get away from work) it was really quiet, there wasn’t many staff or children around so we couldn’t get a good idea of how the nursery worked. Therefore if we found a nursery we liked the look of and it matched our criteria that we needed then I would rearrange another viewing on my own during the day when it was busier so I could get a feel of how well the nursery ran. You can visit a nursery as many times as you like until you feel satisfied that it is the right one for you.
- If it is a private nursery then how much does it cost to send your child there and does this fit in with your budget? Lets face it, childcare is EXPENSIVE and different nurseries charge different prices. Also ask what is included in the price of your childcare as some provide snacks, lunch and juice plus nappies and formula if needed and some nurseries ask you to bring nappies/formula and pay extra for the child’s lunch. Make sure you are aware of what’s included before hand.
- How many children does the nursery take and what ratio is it teacher to child. Most nurseries we visited worked on 4 children per adult which I think is more than enough. Make sure that the nursery isn’t over capacitating so your child has the right amount of attention and care that is needed.
- Does the nursery have an Ofsted report? How well are they performing? Not all nurseries provide an Ofsted report but if they do, it’s worth looking at it as it gives you a good idea on how well the nursery is performing.
- Most nurseries provide the child with a “settling in period” where they will let your child come to the nursery for a few hours (usually 3-4) for free to see if they like it. Usually a parent or guardian can stay with them to make them comfortable. If the nursery offers you a settling in period then take it. Just because you like the nursery doesn’t mean your child will. This helps them decide whether the nursery is right for them or not. If it isn’t, do not feel obligated to send your child there just because they have given you free childcare.
- Ensure that the nursery has a good security system. Lots of people come and go in nurseries to collect and drop off children so make sure that the nursery has a good code of practice when letting people within the building. Some nurseries require an access code or finger print system before you can enter and others provide a password for your child. Whatever it is, make sure it is safe, secure and you feel comfortable with it.
- Do they have a routine? Not always on peoples “must have” list but it was definitely on mine. I have a daughter who thrives on routine and gets worked up when she does something out of the norm so having a nursery with a structure and routine was vital for us. I quite like the idea of snack time = 9am, reading – 10am, play time – 11am, lunch – 12pm etc. It means that K knew exactly what was going to happen and felt secure rather than it being a mixed bag of stuff to do where she would come home upset and out of sorts. Like I say, it’s not on everyone’s list but worth baring in mind if you have a child like mine.
- Do they have a good, secure out side space? Every child needs fresh air and a chance to explore the outdoors. Is the outside space large enough? Does it have outdoor equipment? Is it safe and secure? It’s also worth asking the nursery how often they go outside and how long for. If your child is there for 8 hours, and they only go outside once in the morning for 10-15mins it may not be enough for your child.
All these points are very individual based and every parent requires different needs for their child but I hope it has given you some ideas on what to look out for when choosing a nursery as it is such an important decision. It is your childs first adventure and I do believe that nurseries shape our children so it is vital to choose the right one. It is such an intimidating procedure. It has to be somewhere that you feel comfortable leaving your child, knowing that they are going to get the correct attention and care for them. It will also probably be the first experience of someone other than yourself or close relatives looking after your precious cargo. Take the time out to make sure you make the right decision.
I hope this helped!
I’d love to hear what was on your nursery “wish list”