Nurseries are constantly under the spotlight, and for good reason. As a parent you’ll know how important it is that your little one gets the best possible start in life.
The most common type of nursery is a day nursery. These are normally privately run and contain children from the age of three months, up to five years. Take a look into any local authority run nurseries and community nurseries too. Both offer the same standard of care and education.
There’s plenty of nurseries to choose from, especially the nurseries in Wolverhampton (where I’m from), so it’s vital that you do some research before sending your little one on their way.
Normal nursery hours are between 8am and 6pm, but it’s important to check this with the nurseries you’re looking at. Most are open all year round apart from public holidays, again it’s good to check this first.
Like schools, nurseries have a strict staff to children ratio, as well as guidelines and a curriculum to follow, which puts your little one on their pathway to state education.
With such high demand, it’s vital that you research and visit your desired nurseries as soon as possible. Getting your little ones name down as soon as possible is crucial.
Another similarity to schools is that nurseries come in all different sizes. Some nurseries may only have a few places each year, whilst the bigger nurseries may offer over 100. The bigger the nursery the more facilities they usually have. It’s important you visit the nursery so you can see whether ‘size matters’. It’s a completely personal view, and doing what is right for your little one.
So, what’s the process?
To start the ball rolling, contact your local Children’s Information Service and obtain a list of all the nurseries in your area.
Have you got friends/family that have already placed their children within a local nursery? Don’t be afraid to ask them for their recommendations.
Use the internet to gain further information on parent and local forums and websites. You’ll find this extremely useful. Now that you have a few good recommendations you should get in touch with the recommended nurseries and book a visit.
What to consider when visiting a nursery?
First impressions count. How does the nursery make you feel? Have you taking along your little one? If so, how are they reacting to the nursery, its staff and the environment?
Is the nursery secure? Are the staff warm, friendly and child focused? How are the children behaving? Are they happy?
I’ve found my favourite. What do I do now?
As it’s already been mentioned, spaces go… fast! Ensure that the nursery you like have available spaces. If they do, great. If not, you’ll have to revisit some nurseries you’ve previously visited.
It’s now time to get the detail from your desired nursery, so start asking:
Do they provide meals? If so, what meals are provided and at what times?
What do you need to provide? Nappies, milk, wipes?
What activities, both indoors and outdoors does the nursery children participate in?
Ask for a copy, or to see, their latest OFSTED report.
What notice period do they have, should you ever have to take your little one out of nursery?
What are the security protocols of the nursery?
What is their emergency procedure?
Do they accept childcare vouchers?
Once you’ve gone through this, you’ll be in a great position to put your little one in a nursery you’ll both be happy with.