prospective nursery visit - what should I ask?(8 Posts)
I am pregnant with DC1 and have started looking into nurseries as we will potentially be looking at baby starting there this time next year. I have my first show around tomorrow and was just wondering if anyone could help with the kind of things I should be looking for/asking about. I've had a few ideas, but am obviously new to this so don't want to miss anything as it's such a big decision.
Sickness policy, will they give Calpol, what do they exclude for.
Temps / bank staff - what do they do to cover staff holidays and sickness.
Ask for a copy of the current menu to get an idea of what they eat.
I'm not very happy with our nursery at the moment, I would also look for the following:
Do all the children have pegs? Shows their housekeeping is up to date. DD2 is in a room of 12 babies and only 2 have pegs with photos, I keep bringing home other people's clothes to wash.
Are the children happy and interacting with the staff? You can tell when toddlers don't like people.
What is their staff turnover rate? Will tell you a lot.
How do staff communicate with parents about what the child has been doing during the day? Log book? Verbally? Meetings?
Who would be my child's main carer and who else would be involved in their care? How stable/fluid is this team?
What is your policy on conflict management between children?
For me it was the feel. I'm not particularly bothered about the things answered by questions. I picked the one I did as it felt loving. The other place I looked round felt efficient.
I would ask about:
Ratios of children to staff in rooms
Do they have a password system if it's not yourself/partner collecting child
What activities do they do? Do the babies get a chance to experience messy play?
How often do they go outside?(Should be once a day at least!)
Staff mobile phones-where are they kept? - This has become a big thing with safeguarding after abuse cases in nurseries- also , do they have a specific phone (without a camera) for staff to take if the go on walks with the children.
How many staff are first aid trained?
How do they plan activities for the children? Do they create activities based on the children's current interests?
Do they have a key person system?
How do they cover staff holidays/sickness?
Do they do daily diaries for the children, recording milk, food eaten, sleep times and nappy changes?
The biggest thing is to look at how the staff are interacting with the children and wether the children look happy or bored.
What does the day look like? Timings of food for older kids etc.
How do they keep records?
Do you need to provide anything? Like food or specific milks?
Look at the space? Our nursery had a lovely soft play area upstairs!
Naps. Where do kids sleep and how are they monitored?
Safeguarding. Do they buzz you in? Stair gates etc?
Ask for a sample menu, routine, what kind of activities they do. Check out what space they have to play in, including the outdoor space. Are there any concerns eg I've seen garden space next to public footpath with low fence where kids were chatting to passers by unsupervised!
I think you can tell a lot just by the atmosphere of the place - at my DS's nursery they greet you with a big smile, always say hello to the children by name. The staff are always down with the children (as in sitting/kneeling at their eye level, interacting with them). They're welcoming and engage them in conversation as soon as the children arrive. They have a great food policy, v healthy and fresh, they plant veg and herbs with the children to use in the kitchen. They also go the extra mile - parent breakfasts every so often, where they give you breakfast to take away after morning drop off!
Make sure you know all the practical stuff - opening hours, how you can pay your bill. Think about how opening hours will fit in with your needs eg to account for commute. Ask how soon you need to book a space and find out what days they have spaces so that you can begin to plan your working week/other childcare.
Ask how they let the children sleep - first nursery I used had really tiny rooms and DS struggled to sleep there as he had to sleep in a cot in a small noisy baby room. His current nursery blacks out a separate room, put mats and blankets out for all the children to nap together. If any wake up early they go next door to play.
Ask for a recent newsletter if they have one.
A great nursery will give you most of this information without you having to ask!
Try to visit a few nurseries to get a feel for what you do/don't like.
these are all brilliant and so helpful! thank you so much x
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