What to look for when choosing a nursery

The time has arrived for your little one to start nursery. You are feeling slightly apprehensive about it anyway, but knowing which one to choose is quite simply a minefield.

Knowing what to look for in a nursery is a good start and can significantly narrow down the choice. To help you, here’s 5 tips on what to look for when choosing a nursery.

1 – All the staff working at a children’s nursery should be qualified. Check that all the carers hold a qualification, such as an NVQ childcare level 2 certificate, whilst the supervisors should hold an NVQ level 3.

2 – Make sure the nursery is Ofsted registered. It is the law that all childcare providers that look after under eight year olds are registered with Ofsted. Once you know it is registered with Ofsted, check to see its Ofsted results on the nursery’s website. A good Ofsted report is the best way of telling whether a nursery has good levels of health and safety, child welfare and provides a high standard of education.

3 – When visiting potential nurseries always check to see how clean it is. Are there hazards, such as toys left lying around? Ask what the procedure is if a child has an accident. If you are in doubt of how clean and safe the child care centre is, ask to see the relevant health and safety certificates.

4 – How many carers a nursery employs is also a good indication to the level of care and attention your child will receive. Generally speaking the more staff a nursery has, the smaller the group will be that each member of staff has to look after.

5 – Make sure a nursery is 100% secure. On your visit, check to see if a child could get out of the building unsupervised.

6 – High quality nurseries always follow a structured curriculum, which includes educational activities, play, group learning, ‘quiet time’ and some physical activity. On your visit, be sure to ask the staff about their structured curriculum.

7 – Ensure the nursery practises ‘age appropriate learning’. Instead of teaching groups of mixed ages together, it is important that children are taught appropriate to their age.

8 – Always ask to see a menu on your visit to a nursery. A good nursery will always provide a healthy, balanced meal plan for its children.

9 – Take a look at what toys, books, accessories and other equipment the nursery provides. A quality care provider will have a wide selection of equipment available, catering for different ages.

10 – Talk to other parents you see at the nursery. Are they happy about the service their child is receiving there? There is nothing more truthful than information coming straight from ‘the horse’s mouth’.