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Key things to look out for in a nursery(10 Posts)
First time mum looking at nurseries for my DD
What's the main things to look for?
Any tips etc x
Low staff turnover. Not deafeningly noisy
- children talking to each other
- staff showing warmth to children
Ask how long they've worked there.
Number one most important thing, which is very hard to measure, but does it feel happy? Do the children seem content and occupied, do the staff seem to be engaging with them in a warm way? Obviously you might see one or two upset children but it shouldn’t be all of them and the staff should be responsive. I think for this one you have to trust your instinct a bit. When we visited our nursery it just felt right.
But there are other more tangible things you can ask about too:
How do they organise cover if staff are sick or on holiday (do they use agency staff or have another arrangement)
Do they have a key worker system
Is there a separate room for naps (important for babies IMO)
Do they do trips out and if so how often
Our nursery was happy for us to drop in at anytime to visit, we didn’t have to book an appointment. That to me indicated they were consistent in their care.
Also I took note of how the staff interacted with DD, even the office staff chatted happily to her. And they were very reassuring and flexible.
The nursery I chose everyone was so friendly to ds, they interacted with him and made a fuss. The manager showed me round and explained her background (Montessori) and how that had influenced the layout of the nursery (she'd taken what she felt were the good bits, it's not a Montessori nursery). The rooms were all very calm. When we went into the baby room there were lots of toys, an activity going on, seemingly hundreds of staff, but it wasnt hectic. They don't just pay lip service to taking the kids out and about. They seem to go out at least 3 times a week, and to different places. And my favourite bit - there's no TV. I love ds' nursery and really felt like I made the right choice.
Some things I didn't like so much about other nurseries I saw - one had rigid nap times (even for babies), another had two cots in the baby room that they had a rota for. One was having "computer time" when I went in (about 15 under 2s watching Cbeebies on a projector). One didn't have a chef/cook - meals were out of cow and gate jars they bought from Asda. One told me they always have "trouble" with breastfed babies.
You'll very quickly work out what you're looking for, my only advice would be to not just go with the first nursery you see.
My advice would be to go and view as many as you can. You will find one you feel comfortable with
Listen to your gut. Your subconscious will pick up lots of important info that your conscious will miss. If it doesn't feel right, give it a miss.
Staff turnover. The 'feel' you get when you look around. My daughter's nursery is actually quite shabby (although of course it's safe!) but I got a lovely warm feeling when I went to visit. She has been there (2 days a week) for 8 months now, and at dropoff, to see her run to the staff for a hug, or to see one of them hold his hand out to her to come and look at something, and her go gladly without a backward glance at me, makes me teary, it's so lovely and I know it's the right place for her. You will know from the feel of the place. Good luck!
When we viewed, the children were outside and they were all muddy, and so were the staff because they were playing with them and chasing them around.
I was happy there were a lot of staff in their 30's and 40's who had their own children.
There are several huge outdoor spaces.
They said I could call them whenever I wanted for an update.
All their food is brought in daily from the local pub which is really nice.
Definitely made the right choice, DC1 walks himself into nursery and barely acknowledges me to say goodbye! Even when he was little they would tell me if he was reserved that day and when he started to come out of his shell. He never ever cried at drop off as he was immediately cuddled and distracted.