Choosing a nursery for your child? Read this!
Have a little one who's ready to head off to nursery? Here are the seven vital things you should be looking out for when choosing where to send your child thanks to Bright Horizons, the UK's leading childcare provider.
Most of us have an idea about what to look out for when we’re visiting prospective schools – we can remember our own school experiences and often use those to interpret what we want for our children. Nurseries are trickier to navigate (who can remember that far back?) and for first-time parents in particular it can be difficult to know what to expect or what to ask.
Luckily we can solve that dilemma for you with help from the team at Bright Horizons who have been providing early years care and education to families across communities for more than 30 years, with more than 300 nurseries across Surrey and the UK. Here they share valuable advice on how to find and choose a nursery.
Choosing a nursery is an important decision for any parent as their child embarks on the first steps of their educational journey.
Search on nursery listing sites
Dedicated listing sites show all nearby options and often give a detailed overview of the features at each of the settings. Websites such as daynurseries.co.uk provide a rundown of a nursery’s facilities, opening times, photos, a score rating and reviews from other parents whose children currently attend.
Check the nursery is Ofsted registered
All day nurseries should be registered with Ofsted. Check the ones identified to ensure they are listed and read the latest report to find out more information, including the most current Ofsted grading (bear in mind that newly opened nurseries may not have had an inspection yet).
Find out how they serve food
Does the nursery offer milk, meals and snacks, or do parents need to make a packed lunch for their child? Is food freshly prepared each day? Are menus varied and nutritional? Find out what food is offered and ask the staff how they manage dietary requirements and allergies.
Read the nursery’s policies
A good nursery setting will have clearly established policies for everything related to the children’s care. What is the nursery policy on opening and closing times, illness or emergency? It is always reassuring to know the nursery that takes the care of a child does so seriously and has guidelines in place to reflect that.
Ask about the settling-in period
How long does the nursery give children to settle in? What do they do to reassure them and how does this process work? Ensure the staff are responsive to children’s needs.
Find out what is included
Does the nursery provide everything children need for the whole day? For example, check if nappies, milk and wipes need to be supplied for younger children. Nurseries that include these in the price can be more convenient, especially if parents plan to drop their child off whilst commuting.
Visit the nursery
It sounds obvious, but when choices have been narrowed down to a few favourites, a visit will give a clear vision better than a webpage ever could. It allows parents to see how their children act during opening hours and whether they look happy and engaged in a variety of different activities. Staff can also be interacted with and viewed first-hand as well as the staff to child ratio. An out of hours visit can also give a chance to look round the space and facilities, as well as ask staff any questions that couldn’t be found out online.
Bright Horizons are the UK’s leading childcare provider with a portfolio of more than 300 nurseries throughout Surrey and the UK offering high quality care and education for children aged 3 months to 5 years.