Got a little one starting nursery soon? Want some expert advice on what to look for – and what questions to ask?

Then you’ve come to the right place!

How to find the right nursery

Leaving your baby or toddler with strangers for the first time can be stressful enough, without the added worry of finding the right nursery. As a mum of three I also know that it might be your baby who’s starting nursery, but it’s equally important that the nursery is right for you too.

All three of ours started nursery when they were one, and we’re lucky in that they’ve all been through the same nursery with many of the same staff looking after all three of them.

With the new term approaching we’ve teamed up with The Wandsworth Preschool who have produced a handy checklist for parents choosing a nursery for the first time.

How to find the right nursery for you & your child

Here’s what to consider:

Contacting the nursery:

  • Was the phone answered quickly when you called?
  • Was the person you spoke to friendly and helpful?
  • If you left a message was your call returned in a timely manner?
  • If you requested information did you receive it?
  • How do you feel at this stage about the nursery?

Visiting the nursery:

  • Were you warmly greeted on arrival?
  • What security arrangements are in place?
  • Were you met and greeted by the manager or a deputy?
  • Did they answer any questions you had?
  • Did the person showing you around seem knowledgeable?
  • Were they interested in you and your child?
  • Were you given all the information you needed on your visit?
  • Did the entrance to the nursery give a good impression?
  • Was the nursery clean and well organised?
  • Were the rooms bright and airy?

How to find the right nursery

  • When you entered rooms were the children engaged in play or activities with staff?
  • Did the staff seem interested in the children? Were they talking to them and engaging with them?
  • How do the nursery assess children’s progress and development and share the information with you?
  • Does the nursery have an outdoor play area?
  • Do the menus and meals served appear to be nutritious and appealing?
  • Can the nursery cater to specific dietary requirements?
  • What percentage of the nursery team are fully qualified?
  • How many staff have first aid qualifications?
  • Did you come out of the nursery feeling confident enough to leave your child there?
  • Did you feel you could relate to and interact well with the manager or deputy on a daily basis?

After your visit:

  • Did the nursery keep in touch with you?
  • Was any further information requested forwarded?
  • Were you invited back to the nursery for a stay-and-play?
  • Do the nursery fees represent value for money?
  • Are the nursery fees inclusive or do you need to provide or pay for any extras?

The Wandsworth Preschool have helpfully made their checklist into a handy infographic, so you can download it and keep it on your phone to help you on those all-important (and often overwhelming!) nursery visits.

How to find the right nursery

Once all your questions and queries are satisfied my advice from one parent to another is this: trust your instincts. If it feels right it probably is, but if something feels wrong then it probably is too.

Do you have a little one starting nursery soon? Would you add any questions to this list? I’d love to hear about your experience!

This post was written in collaboration with The Wandsworth Preschool.

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