Thursday 20 April 2017

Tips for Choosing the Right Nursery

Its always such a big step for a child to be starting nursery. Its a big step for them, and just as much of a big step for us to. If you are anything like me then your child has probably been with you every day until now, maybe with one or 2 exceptions when they visit grandparents. So for suddenly you to be sending them to somewhere where they are without you. It can be quite a big deal.

Not only are you not with them, to take care of their needs and make sure they are safe. You are sending them to somewhere where you don't really know the people who will be looking after them and so of corse you wonder will they be okay? What if my child's needs aren't understood? What if they spend the entire day crying?

But at some point there is going to be a time where you are just going to have to bite the bullet and send your child to a nursery. So best thing you can do is make sure they go to the right nursery.

So today I registered Lily to a local Nursery and even though I have Nursery Experience and know Lily will be fine I still have my nervous thoughts about it all. What has made it much better for me is that I made sure when I visited the nursery I knew all I had to know to make sure that Lily will be going to the right nursery for her. 

So here is a guide of things that I think you should look out for when visiting and questions I think are important you ask. 

Things to Look Out For

The first thing to look for when you are entering a nursery is security. Do they have a locked gate with camera or voice security? To exit the nursery do they have high buttons up on walls so children can't escape?

When you enter the Nursery take a look around. Do they have photographs of the staff on the walls? What about children's work? I like to see nurseries with lots on the walls. Do they seem recent? EG Not Christmas pictures at Easter. Not only does it mean that the nursery does some great activities with the children but they also help children recognise achievement and it is important to them to keep what the children see up on the walls fresh and new.

What about coat hooks? It is really important for a child to feel like they belong and a coat hook with there name on is a great way of helping them belong. Even better if that name tag has the child's picture on.

Do children have access to resources and toys through out the day? Can they help them selves to them? I always think that its important that they can choose what they want to play with and have access to things like books and drawing though out the day.

Are the staff interacting with the children? Look to see how much enthusiasm the staff have with the children. Are they smiling? This is a really important one for me.

Do the other children look happy? Are they running around the room like crazy or are they behaving/playing with toys. If the children are running around rather than playing, thats a sign that they are bored. 

Is the place a little messy? Its actually a good thing for it to be a little messy. It means the children have been playing, and instead of the staff making sure that every single inch of sand is up off the floor 24/7 they are playing with the children instead.

Questions to Ask

When choosing the right nursery it is important you ask as many questions as you can. Having nursery experience I knew all the questions to ask and asked a lot. But here are some that I think are quite important that you make sure you know.

What is the security for people picking the children up? An acceptable answer would be that they have passwords and photographs of people that are aloud to pick the children up.

Is there water available for children to drink at all times? 

Do all the children get outdoor time at least once a day? Surprisingly I have worked in nurseries that didn't give every child outdoor time. 

Does my child have a Key Worker? I was really happy at the Nursery that Lily is going to be attending that she gets 2 key workers.

Does your child get a folder of work that you get to see? I really like this aspect of nurseries and would be disappointed if they didn't.

Its really important that your child spends most their time having fun at nursery, but also important that they are learning and the nursery is sticking to the EYFS ( Early Years Foundation Stage). If they don't mention this to do then definetly ask. Its something your nursery should know all about.

Ask about sleep and meal times. Make sure that they get snacks and have somewhere to sleep if they are there for a full day. 

Will there be a settling in process? Most nurseries do now offer this, you can also ask if you are aloud more if your child doesn't settle fast.

Before asking all these questions you will hopefully get told most things like what resources they have and routines so I have tried to focus on things they may not have mentioned. The person answering your questions should have an immediate answer about everything you ask, which for me really gives me confidence that they are truthful and know what they are talking about.

Of corse you may have other things you need to ask which are for the individual needs of your child and all nurseries are different and some more than others but I hope that I have given you a few things that may help when choosing the right nursery for your child. 

I will let you know how Lily gets on with the nursery we have placed her in soon.

What questions would you ask when visiting a nursery? 


  1. Unfortunately we don't have much of a choice regarding nurseries here but luckily our nursery is really good. No nap times but since I'm home all the time it doesn't matter much.

  2. Great tips
    First impressions and communication are so important

  3. Fantastic tips - I found it really hard and actually made a mistake with my daughters first nursery that resulted in having to get child protection involved... Second nursery was a blessing though. Really lucked out there. She was so sad to leave when it came time to start school x

  4. Ah if I only I had something like this post to read when my kids were nursery age - you've brought up some great points!

  5. Great post and tips, we don't have an awful lot of choice here, but being a small village I knew the setting and staff anyway. Kaz x

  6. I was clueless about all this when my children started nursery. I just went on my gut instinct!

  7. I can only imagine how hard it is to choose the right place for your child! These sound like some great tips.

  8. It must a a very difficult to choose the right nursery after all they are looking after your most precious possession. R

  9. Great ideas, I just went on word of mouth recommendations from other parents with children of a similar age, but it turned out to be a good choice as he lives it there.

  10. Good ideas. I can imagine how difficult it is to choose just the right nursery, there are so many factors to take into consideration.

  11. My twin nephews are two and my sister is already struggling with so many decisions x

  12. I was so lucky that my local school had beacon status and an outstanding nursery attached to it.

  13. Great tips! I'm really happy you mentioned that it's okay for it to be a little messy. I've seen some nurseries that are way too pristine. And I worked at one that expected EVERYTHING to be cleaned and tidied up whenever there were visits. Made it really difficult to keep the children engaged. Glad my current place understands that some mess is good (so long as it's cleaned up later).

  14. Good blog, and very relevant topic. I am of the belief that each and every Nursery should be good. So that children, their parents, family, friends and Community can receive an appropriate service which Benefits the individual children, Parents, family, Community etc. As by being able to go to the local Nursery may Benefit the child in the longer term by being able to build up strong relationships ( Social Support Network) from an early age. This can be useful in later life e.g. When attending Primary, Secondary School/s, College, University, Employment, As well as living within the local Community and interacting with neighbours, friends etc.

    Rachel Craig

  15. This is super helpful. Our son attends a nursery which is fantastic. The staff are wonderful and my son didn't even miss us on his first day! I think he's going to be distraught leaving when he goes to infant school this year.

  16. great article + good ideas

  17. Great tips, my son is 13 now but really didn't take to nursery and after 3 weeks I gave up and pulled him out and my mum looked after him while I worked, Megan went to a flying starts nursery but they weren't changing her nappy so I pulled her out, and Mollie is 9 months and we are in the catchment area for pod which is the same as flying starts, they now request that you go back to the nursery to change your child's nappy as they wont so that's one is a no no, I think il just teach her at home, Connor and Megan are both in the highest sets and classes so I must have done something right with them xxx