At some point in your child’s life, they may attend nursery; and it can be daunting at first because there are many different aspects you will need to consider when making your choice. Every nursery will be specific in their procedures and policies, however, my aim is to simplify these aspects so you can get a rough idea of what it is you need to know.
Firstly, you need to establish the reason your child needs to go to nursery. Is it because you are going to work/study? Is it because you need a few hours a day to run errands? Is it because your child has reached pre-school age?
Moving on to the points you need to take into account:
Type of nursery: A school nursery is free and usually runs for 3 hours per day (either a AM or PM session). Private nurseries are on the pricier side but they are usually open from as early as 6.00am to as late as 7.00pm. Days can also be split into half days or full days
Opening hours: You need to be clear on opening and closing hours so you can factor in your journey to and from the nursery.
OFSTED report: In relation to nurseries, an OFSTED report is a published report of the findings made after inspecting a childcare setting. It is carried out every few years and graded accordingly: Grade 1 (outstanding), Grade 2 (good) Grade 3 (requires improvement), Grade 4 (inadequate). You can easily locate a nursery’s OFSTED report here.
Staff to child ratio: There are strict guidelines on this; 0-2 years old: one carer to three children. 2 years old – 3 years old: one carer to four children. 3 years old – 5 years old: one carer to eight children. Some nurseries may choose to exceed this ratio.
Ask questions: As many as you can think of!
- How many children do you care for?
- What qualifications and/or experience do you have?
- What are the daily routines and how can you incorporate my child’s and other children’s routines?
- Do you operate a key worker scheme (whereby one member of staff has main responsibility for your child)?
- What are your policies on discipline and how do you manage children’s behaviour?
- Do you provide meals, snacks, nappies, etc. or will I need to provide them?
Moving forward: Provided there is a vacancy for your child, find out what their settling period intales, for example if it is over a few mornings or days
The most important thing is that both you and your child feel happy and safe about the nursery.
As always, thank you for reading.