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Questions to ask on prospective nursery visit

(11 Posts)
mooki Wed 30-Sep-09 11:27:34

DD has been with a childminder for a year but we are moving house and considering trying the local nursery. She will be 2 and a bit and would go 3 or 4 full days a week (if/when they have a place).

I am normally hopeless at thinking of good questions to ask in advance - so I'm trying to be better this time - please help me compile a list?

What are the room arrangements - how are the children grouped and what are the group sizes?

Is there a key person arrangement?

Are there structured activities or do they just run about and have a go on what they like?

How much time outside? Any trips?

Do the nursery provide meals? If so what's the menu like for the week?

What are the arrangements for eating?

How do they handle sleeps?

What is their 'discipline' policy?

What information do we get each day?

Anything you can think of please add...

Sunshinemambo Wed 30-Sep-09 11:41:05

Not a question but I'd be keen to check out that the mix of staff is good between young and old.

You could also ask about staff turnover and training, how they communicate with parents (for example do they have a daily update, a newsletter, parents evenings?), are parents allowed to drop in during the day (you may not intend to do this but it's worth knowing), what their sickness policy is, what their hygiene policy is, if they have any particular activities for getting older children ready to go to school.

I'd also ask about whether they do things like sports days, nativity plays etc.

This is all stuff I've picked up at my wonderful nursery.

ElectricElephant Wed 30-Sep-09 11:43:37

Ask about accident books - our nursery tell me if DS has hurt himself or bashed his head or anthing, and get me to sign an accident book.

Also ask them about timings of meals - they might be different to yours and you might need to change routing slightly.

BornToFolk Wed 30-Sep-09 11:45:09

Ask about the settling in procedures.

Is the food cooked on-site?

If your DD is still in nappies, ask whether you need to provide them or whether the nursery does.

nigglewiggle Wed 30-Sep-09 11:52:07

Ask how many members of staff are on apprenticeships. Our DD's nursery recently lost a lot of older experienced staff and took on 16 year old apprentices (they can pay them below the minimum wage shock). It really ruined the nursery for us - nothing against younger staff but a lot of them just didn't seem to want to be there (perhaps understandably). I thought it might be rife, recession and all that, but my friend recently looked round some other local nurseries and it hadn't happened there. Worth checking though.

mooki Wed 30-Sep-09 15:10:21

Thanks very much, lots of useful suggestions and things I hadn't thought of.

I need to also remember to ask about child care vouchers.

Sunshinemambo Thu 01-Oct-09 09:20:41

Also do they do any extra things and are these charged for on top of fees. For example at my DC's nursery my DS has french and dancing lessons which are paid for by the nursery. At other local nursery these kinds of classes are charged on top.

mooki Thu 01-Oct-09 13:52:22

Blimey Sunshinemambo, that sounds great!

DD does a passable phonetic first two lines of frere jacques...

I'm having a wobble about nursery again as DD has been a bit clingy in the last week and I still really like the idea that the childminder acts as a substitute mummy if she's feeling a bit droopy during the day.

Those of you with children at nursery - they do generally have someone that they can always go to for a cuddle don't they? Knowing nothing about nurseries I imagine the children all to be have to be a bit more independent and self-reliant, but realise this could be cobblers.

BornToFolk Thu 01-Oct-09 14:01:46

She'll have a keyworker who should be a bit more "tuned in" to her moods and needs than other members of staff but at a good nursery, any of the staff would give her a big cuddle if that's what's needed.

Sunshinemambo Thu 01-Oct-09 14:02:11

Ds does have quite a few French words and after being on holiday with his best friend's French dad for two weeks he now uses the word 'allez' all the time.

Mooki my nursery is fabbo. I can definitely state that both DS and DD have people to go to for a cuddle when they need it. We've never felt like they're missing out on any love or attention, quite the opposite in fact. Both of them have particular nurses that they prefer but there are others to give them cuddles if they need it.

But DS is certainly also quite independent, which isn't a bad thing. DD is still a little bit young to know. She's going through a clingy phase but still does really well at nursery.

mooki Thu 01-Oct-09 20:49:53

Aw thanks, it does make me feel better.

Ordinarily DD is very gregarious and steams in to the middle of toddler groups. I'm sure she'll be fine - she's just gone all jeppy to make me stressed. (She cried 'I keep you mummeeeeeee.' at bedtime tonight.)

We're taking her with us on Monday, which will make the bit where we ask all the questions ticky (she trashed the mortgage adviser's office...) but it will be interesting and important to see what she makes of it.

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