Council websites often have a good list of questions to ask ... But key for me is seeing how the staff interact with the kids and how the kids respond to them. Also facilities - and outside space.
I wish I'd asked about settling in procedures and how they communicate with parents (eg do they write in a little book, have a parents evening etc). Also how they deal with an upset child, with accidents, with naptime (mine won't fall asleep nicely in a cot).
I visited two to compare (not on same day). I looked for adults who were more interested in my child than me. I watched the children playing and tried to gauge whether they were happy and how they were spoken to. It's not an exact science I'll admit!
Toilet facilities, general contentment if the children there (try to talk to one or two) the provision areas and outdoor space (and access to it all) - ask about numbers of children in each session, staffing numbers, pick-up and drop-off procedure and what their settling in routine is. Not sure if that helps, but it's start
We are starting to think about applying for a nursery place for dd1's 15 free hours and are hoping to visit our local primary school which has a nursery class.
I am a primary school teacher so have a fair idea of what to look for with regards to the school in general but I'm fairly clueless about nursery provision. What should I be looking out for or asking when we visit?