im visiting a nursery tomorrow<gulp>
what do i ask them without sounding completely neurotic??
anything anyone can think of to help would be good.
do they supply nappies , milk and wipes or do you need to bring your own?
Here's a checklist:
The childcare setting
how many children are there per childcarer?
how many staff have the appropriate childcare qualifications?
do you have any references from parents with children at the nursery?
can I see your current Ofsted inspection report/certificate?
what procedures are in place to allow my child to settle in?
How long have you been working with children?
Do you enjoy being with children, and why?
Do the staff members join in with what the children are doing?
Are staff listening to children and answering them carefully?
How will you make sure I know how my child is getting on?
Activities and services
is there a garden that is safe for the children to play in?
if there is no outside play area, will children go to parks and other such places regularly?
where will my child rest?
what kind of food and drink will you provide?
are you able to meet our dietary needs?
what will my child do all day?
what toys and books are available?
are there lots of activities planned to help children learn through play?
can children initiate some of these activities themselves?
which festivals and special occasions do you celebrate and how do you celebrate them?
what do you consider to be unacceptable behaviour?
how would you handle this behaviour?
have you, or would you, ever smack a child in your care?
are the premises clean, well kept and safe for children?
have you ever had an emergency with a child in your care what happened?
what would you do in the event of an accident or emergency either to you or my child?
Pay and conditions
what are your hours of service?
do you offer part time care?
what are your charges for hourly, daily or weekly care?
do you offer a reduction for two or more children from the same family?
what would happen if I signed the contract and my circumstance changed, meaning that I no longer required childcare?
do you need a deposit if care is not needed immediately? How much would it be?
what do I do if I know Im going to be late? Is there a charge?
Most of your questions will be answered by looking at their Ofsted report. For me it came down to the 'feel' of the place, did the kids look happy, were they engaged by what was going on around them etc.
ill try and find the ofsted report later then.thankyou ladies.
where do i look for the ofsted report?i cant see a link to it anywhere on the nursery website and ive searched but cant find it?
Another good indicator is also to have a look at the kids toilets, even if your child not using them yet. Clean toilets = conscientious staff and well trained kids.
I would add - how many agency staff are here today. Ask is that normal? (if it is more than a couple would want a good reason why).
Ask about staff turnover. How long to staff stay on average (massive indicator in my view).
Ask to see the nappy changing room. Will always whiff a bit - but if it's minging alarm bells. Can you antiseptic spray/hand gel? Are there plenty of paper handtowels. is it clean and tidy (odd thing to see - but I think it tells you a lot about a nursery)
Do they keep scrapbooks for the children? Ask to see these. they should be bright and colourful with lots of photos of the children engaged in play, notes by staff and their artwork.
Do they have a keyworker system. I think that is vital.
Best of luck.
Is there a website for OFSTEAD reports for scottish nurseries?
how do you deal with worms and nits?
average age of employees?
Do they only pay a 'training' wage to young girls? (yes? NO WAY!)
How many staff have NVQ level 2 and 3?
How many staff have left in the last year (DON'T let them squirm out of this one).
How many kids in one room at any time? Ask this, because although the ratios are set by law (1:3 for babies), the reality of a huge room with lots of crying babies is pitiful. I've seen it. It's utterly grim.
Don't kid yourself about ratios. Nappy changing, paperwork, always some kid needing a cuddle more than others etc etc.
When visiting, do they allocate a member of staff to babysit your LO whilst you look around?
Good Nursery - will look after your LO and bring him to you the minute he asks for you.
Bad Nursery - you leave your LO in the room but no-one really makes an effort to include him in play or reassure him (my DS was actaully ignored on a visit and he came screaming after me).
Ask them what system they have in place to make sure that your requests are communicated to all staff looking after your child e.g. is there a whiteboard or something similar? If they promise you soemthing like 'we won't give your baby anything he/she hasn't eaten at home', ask them how they will make sure that won't happen. It's probably been said above but low staff turover is vital. Agree re babyroom - the number of babies in the room is as important as the ratio - when they all start crying it's horrible. Think about visiting some childminders too...
As well as all the very good advice on here, the best question I asked was 'what's your philosophy?' Sounds a bit airy-fairy but they should be able to sum up for you what the nursery is all about, what their approach is like etc. If it's the right nursery for you, you should get a good feel from how they respond to that, as well as things you pick up from the visit and the way they interact with your DC on the day. As well as Ofsted, your gut is a good indicator.
We saw two nurseries when DD was seven months old. When I asked the first one what their philosophy was, the manager (a mum with a DS the same age as my baba, who attends the nursery too) said it was 'all about being a family'. And it really is - lots of sensible grown-up mums working there as well as the younger ones who the kids adore. And this is an Asquith nursery - they haven't always had a great rep but DD is now nearly two and literally runs in without saying goodbye most mornings and I know that she is loved and gets lots of cuddles. The other nursery we looked at just didn't feel right to us - fraction too many very young staff, and although the facilities are far better, it didn't feel so homely. I have very good friends with DCs at both nurseries who were both happy - just went with my gut instinct in the end.
HTH, and good luck finding somewhere where you can relax knowing your DC is happy and being looked after. They are out there!
agree with pinchy re. gut feeling - look at several if poss - trust your instincts - good luck!
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