What to look for when choosing a nursery
Finding good quality childcare can be a difficult task for parents.
There are lots of things to look out for and to remember to ask when you visit a childcare setting. How do you know if your child will be happy? Will they cater for your child’s needs? Do they provide feedback about how your child is doing? What if my child doesn’t like it?
This article is a good starting point to help you to recognise what a good setting can be like and the sorts of things you should be looking to find. Although the article looks at a nursery setting, the information given will apply to other childcare. We put together a step by step guide below about the sorts of things you should do before selecting a childcare provider and the questions you might want to ask when visiting settings.
Make a list of nearby nurseries
Draw up a shortlist of childcare providers located near your house. Remember to check:
- The nursery schedule
- The hourly, daily, and/or weekly cost
- If they have places available for your child
Visit your shortlisted settings
It’s a good idea to visit several settings and ask questions in person about the childcare provided. It might help to take a friend and/or your child on the visits to help you decide. Look for:
- Trained and experienced staff, ready to learn and respond to your child’s individual needs
- Safe and clean premises – welcoming and friendly with outside play space
- Cultural sensitivity and responsiveness to children’s home life
- Fun activities planned each day – childminders, nurseries and out-of-school clubs all need to plan their days with children’s interests and enthusiasms in mind
- Planned exercise and quiet times to relax are important
- A big welcome for you and your child
Check the quality
- What is the ratio of staff to children? How many children are in a classroom?
- What qualifications and/or experience do the staff have?
- What are the daily routines and how can you incorporate my child’s and other children’s routines?
- What are your policies on discipline and how do you manage children’s behaviour?
- Do you provide meals, snacks, nappies, etc. or will I need to provide them?
Book a place
Book your child’s place and arrange details like hours, start date, and who is allowed to pick up your child. You need to pay a retainer fee to keep the place open until your child starts.
Your child may take some time to settle into any new childcare setting that you start them in, so allow them time to adjust to their new surroundings, especially if this is their first time in childcare. Most childcarers, such as childminders, will offer a ‘settling in period’, where you have an agreed length of time to assess whether the setting is the right one for your child and that they are happy there.
Schedule a visit at Questfield!