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What to look for in a potential nursery?(10 Posts)
I was wondering if anyone had any tips on what to look for when doing a tour of a nursery? Any topics they should be covering or me asking them about?
Thanks in advance!
Do they kids look happy and engaged?
Do the staff look bored?
Big one for me is outside space and how often do they use it. Ds's nursery take them out at least once a day in all weather apart from appalling but I have previously moved him from one where they didn't go outside in the winter
Food - is it prepared on site, fresh ingredients etc.
Depending on age of your child, where would they nap, do they have a preferred nap routine or will they go with individual babies' routines.
What is their pre-school room like, what sort of activities do they do there etc. Again, this is a big plus for ds's nursery, they are very focused on learning through play but do, during the final year before school, gently start to introduce things like writing their own name etc.
Also agree with Astro on staff boredom - the nursery I pulled ds from mainly because they didn't go outside, was basically a symptom of the staff being totally unengaged and couldn't be fucked.
Do they actually THINK about how the children interact with what they provide (staff/equipment/environment), and do they actually CARE?
Easy visible signs of a decent nursery:
Are the books on offer in good condition? Lots of the nurseries I work in have broken books and even single pages stuffed back into the book rack. It's a sign that staff can't be arsed, or that money is so tight even broken books are better than nothing, or just low standards.
Are the pencils usable? I've worked in a nursery where no drawing could take place for over a month because there was no pencil sharpener.
Are the children allowed to use the equipment? My current nursery has had no sand in the sandpit for a month due to a total spending ban by the Manager's line manager. Also, some staff have a tendency to not get out things they feel is too much 'hassle', such as painting, or close down whole rooms for dubious reasons.
Nurseries would be better if people were to KEEP LOOKING to see if their are good. Much of the time staff would love you to complain. They probably have begged for sand for the sand pit for weeks, but one complaint from a parent would actually get something done!
Staff - ratios, qualifications, experience, turnover.
Do the children really get to fully engage with activities? The first nursery we used sent home perfect hand prints and foot prints and children were immaculate at pick up time. DD2's current nursery is far less interested in keeping the children clean compared to them getting stuck in to activities. They have a mud kitchen and DD2 was really quite muddy when I collected her. They offer them open lidded cups earlier, let them use scissors earlier. They are incredibly child focussed and child led. Whilst they do make observations and track children so that they can support development, you never see staff sitting doing files while one member of staff deals with loads of kids - they are always interacting with the children.
Also, do you know anyone who uses any of the nurseries? Parental recommendations can be really helpful. I think DD2's nursery is amazing and could give lots of reasons why.
And make sure they have at least one man working there.
(Some element of self-interest.)
I wouldn't particularly worry about whether they have a man there. I'd be very happy if our nursery had a man on the staff and they have had in the past, but the most recent one left to do early years teacher training - so a positive reason to have left. But it just depends on who applies to work there.
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