What to look for in a nursery...

(10 Posts)
ottolenghi Mon 25-Mar-19 12:09:46

I've got a list of all the 'good' and 'outstanding' nurseries in my area and have decided to go and see the ones closest to my home and closest to my work. I had initially picked a nursery near my old house but I left my partner, due to abuse, so am starting again.

Bit sad about the nursery as it was amazing. I mean truly amazing. However time to let go and start again...

Not sure what I'm looking for in a nursery now and it's even harder now my son has been born and has a little personality. I was pregnant when we picked the nursery before.

Can anyone advise? What questions did you ask? Or did you just know that it was the right place?

OP’s posts: |
hsegfiugseskufh Mon 25-Mar-19 12:15:27

to be honest, I just walked in open minded, listened to what they had to say, watched the other kids (are they happy? are they busy?) and picked entirely based on gut feeling. I did read the ofsted reports but I often think they're bollocks and don't reflect on "every day" life at that nursery.

I warmed to the staff at one nursery, it felt homely, the children seemed happy and cared for. The other nursery felt cold, run as a business, children seemed quiet. The woman said all the right things but there was no doubt in my mind that my son wouldn't go there!

Ask about what's important to you, so if its important he naps at a certain time, ask how they'll achieve that. Ask how they deal with a crying child, ask about meals, and how they deal with weaning etc (if that's relevant!)

ottolenghi Mon 25-Mar-19 12:19:09

Thanks @PlantPotParrot

That's what I did with the last place. It just felt right. I was so in awe of how amazing it was that I forgot to ask much. They were very expensive though and now on just my wage I'll have to consider that.

OP’s posts: |
SadieContrary Mon 25-Mar-19 12:24:17

PlantPotParrot is spot on. I used work as an admin manager for a very established nursery with a great rep and fabulous facilities. I still stressed that parents should go with their gut feeling - what feels right for them and their little one

Definitely go open minded and get a feel for a few different places, factoring in the commute, price etc too as a secondary point

mynameisMrG Mon 25-Mar-19 12:24:45

I agree with PP. I looked at a number of nurseries with various ofsted gradings. I went for the one that I walked into and had a good feeling about. And it hadn’t had ofsted yet as it was only six months old. Others were ok, they gave the usual speech and the children seemed happy but I didn’t feel it. Glad I went with my instinct as DS is doing really well there.

Russell19 Mon 25-Mar-19 12:27:15

I wouldn't take too much notice of the difference between good and outstanding. Some outstanding ones haven't had Ofsted in years so I would question if they would still be now.

RidingMyBike Mon 25-Mar-19 13:28:11

Gut feeling played a big part for us. We looked round one outstanding and one good nursery. The good nursery was ok but wasn't too sure about some of their set up (complicated fee structure where you paid separately for meals, seemed very disorganised, didn't like they staff had to go to a totally different room to change nappies, didn't have its own outside space). Whereas the outstanding one was really organised, clear idea of what my child would be doing all day, own outside space so majority of time spent outdoors. Children seemed happy enough at both nurseries.

Now that we've been using it a while what has made a difference was choosing the one with good car parking (makes drop off and pick up a LOT easier and more streamlined) and that it's near home rather than work (if you're ill you can still get the child there).


Yesmarypoppins Sun 31-Mar-19 12:23:48

I’d look out for:
-Happy, busy children
-If there’s unhappy children, are they being comforted?
-Range of activities on offer
-Your little ones response to the environment

I’d ignore:
-Ofsted rating (in my experience they’re rarely reflective of the setting and based mostly on paperwork)
-mess (tidy up time always comes smile)

wheresmyhairytoe Sun 31-Mar-19 19:06:11

Look at how the staff are with the children. Are they stood over them or down on the floor with them? Do they speak to your child or just you? Are the children engaged with what they're doing?

Go with your gut feeling.

Cakemakesmesmile Thu 23-May-19 20:31:59

Ask how they work their ratios, can staff leave the room if they are within calling distance, or are staff required to stay in the room at all times with children, swapping with others if they leave the room. It can make a huge difference, especially in a baby room. I’ve worked in both type of nursery.

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