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Viewing new nursery opening Sept '11 what to ask?

(10 Posts)
lizardqueenie Sun 05-Jun-11 11:13:58

Hi there

I am going to be viewing a new nursery in the next week or so which is connected to a couple of other nurseries locally. I am considering my DD going to nursery maybe 2 half days a week when she is around 13 months old, just to give my mum a break.

The new nursery which will be best located for us isnt going to be open until around Sept 2011, although currently has its waiting list open and are asking prospective parents to view their other nursery which is also local.

Wondering if anyone can give me any advice about what to ask on top of the normal questions you would ask (staff ratios, training, activities, settling in etc) being as this nursery isn't open yet? I believe that they are still recruiting staff to work in the nursery.

Thanks very much smile

meditrina Sun 05-Jun-11 11:27:53

It's difficult, as it's new - the questions that I think are important (like staff turnover) simply cannot be answered. To operate legally, they will have to have the required staff ratios and qualification levels, but this isn't going tot tell you what the place is going to be like, or the vital information about what the place feels like and whether you like its ethos and the general (but intangible) atmosphere and attitude of staff towards their charges.

You can ask about things like food and meal planning, what they expect a typical day to look like, how they manage naps and other practicalities.

What will they provide, and what will you have to send in (nappies etc). It's also vital to find out about things like late pick up fees and notice period when you want to leave (or you can find yourself with extra bills). Is it part of a chain? If so, can you see one the company already operates? Bear in mind that centralised management can mean it takes a long time to get things sorted out (if queries have to be referred to the centre) - it does however also mean that their policies are immaculately presented (it's important that they have them, and any lapses are judged harshly by OFSTED), but the key thing - how they will look after your child - cannot be assessed by paperwork.

Also, even if for any reason other nurseries are not a practical option, do try to look round one or two others to give you some points of comparison.

mrsmerryberry Sun 05-Jun-11 22:33:12

The practical questions are the easiest to ask, what I would be looking for answers for is the staffing structure and the staff that they have got lined up or are looking to recruit. After all these people are strangers and you don't know anything about them. You are trusting them with one of the most important little person in your life, your child.

Are there supervisors within each age grouping how many nursery nurses per group and what level are they qualified to or are they are still students? what is the background and experience of the manager and supervisors. Try to get a feel for their ethos of the new nursery and their vision for how it will be run.

How attentive are they going to be with your child during the day, will they asign a particular nursery nurse to your child and will that person be responsible for reporting to you at the end of the day on what your child has done, how much they have eaten etc.

I think it is even harder signing up your child to a new nursery, there is no ofsted or parent recommendations, so you will have to go with instinct. Good luck in your search.

lizardqueenie Mon 06-Jun-11 13:43:32

Thank you both for your quick responses.

meditrina its part of a v small chain (2 other nurseries in the local area) and they are curently arranging visits to see these nurseries so I will use that as a starting point, but it doesnt take me much further than what their vision or ethos is.

mrsmerryberry thanks for your comments too.

I have been to look at one nursery today and am looking at antoher this afternoon. there are certain things that surprised me about the no of unqualified staff, the fact that staff work in the nursery that arent crb checked and but that they arent allowed to do nappy changing until they are crb checked. I was really shocked at that.

Will post back later and let you see what I thought of no. 2. Taking DH to as many of these as possible too, always good to get 2 views, 2 paris of ears.

princesbold Mon 06-Jun-11 18:45:27

Do not use a nursery where any of the staff are not CRB checked.

cookielove Mon 06-Jun-11 21:17:21

Staff who are not CRB checked cannot be left alone with the children, i would go back and ask why they are not, is it cause they are still training? Or that they are waiting for them to come back, they do take an age to return.

lizardqueenie Tue 07-Jun-11 09:29:58

Yep my thoughts exactly Princes. My understanding is that it was because they are waiting for the CRB's to come back and I know that they can take a long time. They said that they were not allowed to left alone with the children. Unfortunately the second nursery that I looked at said the same. They did emphasise the fact that every member of staff signs some sort of declaration stating that they know that the new person isnt CRB cleared and that they will not leave that person alone with any child in additon to the no nappy changing rule. I feel really concerned about this and very dissapointed. Is this the norm?

meditrina Tue 07-Jun-11 10:41:47

Sometimes with a new joiner it can be managed. Maybe. It happened at ours, when a new staff member had a recent CRB from a previous post, but the nursery manager was redoing it for that post. It was one person only, in a well staffed, fairly open plan place and with good procedures. I'd be very wary of anything more than that.

princesbold Tue 07-Jun-11 19:14:50

No good nursery would employ without it, regardless of how long it takes to come, what do you think schools do ? No crb no job !

lizardqueenie Tue 07-Jun-11 21:37:18

Oh no princes I'm with u on that it's just that for it to be said at 2 popular chain nurseries I was really surprised. Still I will be able to ask what the policy is at the new nursery I look at.

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