How Do You Choose A Nursery?
5 Steps to Choosing a Nursery
It’s one of the most significant decisions you’ll make for your child. Choosing the right nursery for your child will have an incredible impact on their development and ensure that they are ready to tackle primary school and beyond.
However, because of how important it is to choose the right nursery for your child, it might seem like a daunting task.
We understand how you might be feeling. That’s why we want to help you by sharing five simple steps you can take to make choosing a nursery that little bit easier.
These are our five steps to choosing a nursery:
- Make a List of Nurseries
- Arrange to Visit All of Your Shortlisted Nurseries
- Quality Check
- Parent Testimonials and Reviews
- Register Your Child
1. Make a List of Nurseries
Your first task is the easiest! Make a list of nurseries which are in convenient locations. Consider whether you want your child’s nursery to be close to home or your place of work.
Head over to our Find a Nursery tool where you can enter your postcode and see which of our nurseries are close by. Alternatively, you can search on Google or use a childcare directory, such as daynurseries.co.uk.
We’d recommend you shortlist between 3 – 5 nurseries.
Remember to check that the nurseries you are looking at have hours and sessions to suit your needs. Ask what their costs are so that you can budget. Most importantly, make sure you ask whether a place is available for your child.
2. Arrange to Visit All of Your Shortlisted Nurseries
Once you’ve written your shortlist of nurseries, you should arrange to visit them.
Hint: You can arrange a visit to any of our nurseries online for a time that suits you here: Arrange a Visit
Visiting nurseries is the best way to ask questions about the childcare provided. It also helps you to get a sense of the nursery environment and whether you think it will be a good fit for your child. As well as bringing your child with you, you might find it useful to bring someone else with you, such as your partner, close friend, or family member.
When you arrive for your visit, there are a few things you should look out for, such as:
- A pleasant welcome from the staff team as you enter the nursery and each room.
- A busy but relaxed atmosphere. Children should seem happy and engaged in what they are doing.
- Safety and cleanliness. Are there any broken toys? Does the nursery look well maintained?
You can usually visit nurseries more than once to make sure it’s the right choice for your family. However, it’s good to find out as much as you can about each nursery on your first visit. Some great questions to ask are:
- What experience/qualifications do your staff have?
- How do you ensure the safe recruitment of staff?
- How will you keep me informed of my child’s progress?
If you want a full list of questions to ask when you visit a nursery, then take a look at this list we have put together:
3. Quality Check
The vast majority of childcare providers are registered with Ofsted. Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills.
You may have heard of Ofsted before, but assumed that they only inspect schools. They also regulate and inspect all early years settings, including nurseries, pre-schools, and out of school clubs.
All Ofsted inspection reports for childcare providers are available to view online, which show you what grading each provider holds. You can also view a provider’s history to see if any complaints have been investigated and what the outcome was.
Ofsted reports aren’t the only mark of quality, though. You might be surprised to know that as many as 97% of nurseries are rated either Good or Outstanding by Ofsted. It’s worth checking to see if any of the nurseries you are considering have any other certificates, accreditations, or awards, such as:
- Millie’s Mark
- Food Hygiene Rating
- Awards such as Nursery World, Daynurseries.co.uk, NMT, or NDNA awards
Did you know? Tommies Childcare has received four consecutive Daynurseries.co.uk Awards (2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019), a Nursery World Award (2018), and a 3 Star Best Companies Accreditation (2019, and 2020). Tommies Childcare has also been listed in The Sunday Times 100 Best Small Companies to Work For lists for two consecutive years (2019, and 2020).
4. Parent Testimonials and Reviews
Don’t just take their word for it!
Parent testimonials and reviews are a great way to hear about what other families have experienced. They can also provide you with some reassurance that you are choosing the right nursery for your child.
You can check to see if a nursery has any Google reviews. Better still, check to see if the nursery is listed on daynurseries.co.uk and read reviews on there.
Hint: You can read the reviews that families attending a Tommies Childcare nursery have left here.
5. Register Your Child
Once you’ve visited all of the nurseries on your list at least once and have all of the information you need, you can then make an informed decision.
When you’re ready, all you will need to do is complete the registration form that may have been provided to you, or contact your chosen nursery to ask about their registration process.
From then onward, you can turn your attention to your child’s first day at nursery, which is a big event in itself! If you’re worried about how your child will settle into nursery life, then you might find it helpful to read our blog about this subject: