nursery checklist(7 Posts)
I'm looking at nurseries for my son for September. He'll be ten months. I just want to know, other than gut feeling, what I should be looking for in a good nursery?
Gut feeling is your best indicator, you know your child better than anyone else and you know what you expect from someone else responsible for them.
I always look at the reactions of other children when looking round places, are they playing? Are staff interacting with all the children? You could ask about child:staff ratios, how many qualified or unqualified there are, how they mix the ages could be important too because some places keep babies separate till 18mths and some don't.
I may get flamed for this but personally I always feel more confident if there are a significant amount of more experienced staff there. Sometimes there can be too many younger and inexperienced staff who have little empathy with parents and are less likely to show real care for the children other than keeping them occupied, fed, changed etc.
Best of luck with your search, hope your little one settles well
Don't be fooled into thinking older more experienced staff are always better
I manage a nursery and I am currently in the process of disciplining an older, very experienced member of staff who is, to but it bluntly, awful at her job.
My 21 year old team leader, on the other hand, is absolutely fantastic. In fact she is so fantastic so was awarded an outstanding contribution award last year at just 20
To answer ops question, you need to feel happy and comfortable leaving your child with the staff in the nursery so watch them to see how they interact with the children. Do the staff look happy? Do they smile and greet visitors? Do the children seem busy, engaged, happy?
Nurseries are never perfect but you want one where the staff are friendly and approachable, where nothing is ever too much trouble and if mistakes are made, then they are addressed properly and not ignored.
I'd agree with cheeseandbanana, go with your gut. Anywhere with friendly staff that leave a good impression, a good creative space which is safe and stimulating for children. As long as you feel comfortable leaving your child there you should go for it, you should consider it.
Also make your judgement based on your credentials. Experienced staff, good links to nursery school educational suppliers, how many children are there should also be taken into account.
www.gopak.co.uk/markets/early-year - this link has a bit more info on what sort of facilities you should look out for. I'm a very visual person, so if I can see that a nursery has invested in equipment and staff, I'm much more confident in its abilities.
Apart from gut feeling, I would ask about staff turnover and if they use a lot of agency staff. You want your child to build a bond with their key worker, that can't happen with different people coming and going.
My personal preference is also older more experienced staff, not just 16-18yos straight out of college.
I'm also not a fan of private nurseries. I have found that umbrella companies are more invested in having high quality staff, rather than being solely profit driven.
Ask to see the menu and how food is prepared. What is the policy for naps will they cuddle/rock if needed. For older kids what are potty training arrangements? How for they manage transition between rooms? Do they do trips? Is there a garden?
We went to see two nurseries with ds
The first (the one I thought he'd go to) was smaller and really flexible with hours.
When we got there, the staff weren't very friendly and it was a depressing place to be! It was only one big room where everything happened with a tiny room for snack (bit like a cupboard!) it was dark and a bit smelly to be honest!
In The second, much larger nursery, the staff all greeted me by name in each room we went into. They were lovely, running about with the kids, leading activities and each room was set up as a different zone. Art, role play, soft play, kitchen and snack room etc,
It just had a lovely feeling and they showed me a child's folder (staff members child) and it was so organised and filled with stuff. I was wowed!
I'd heard stuff like They aren't flexible with hours, you get fined if you are late, you have to pay on a certain date and give you the impression don't mess it up!
But the care is just so fantastic.
Both my kids have been there now and loved it. Both writing their names in weeks and learned so much!
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