What should I see and how should I feel?
A visit is the most important stage in deciding whether a nursery is going to be best possible choice for your child so here is a short guide to what you should look for:
1. A professional and well-run business which responds positively to its customers
Were you able to contact the nursery, speak to a friendly and helpful member of staff, discuss your needs and arrange your visit?
On arrival, were you and your child given a warm welcome? Was the entrance to the nursery secure and organised?
Were you given a clear understanding of the enrolment process, fee structure, nursery policies & systems?
Does the nursery follow up and keep in touch with you after the visit?
You should feel: Valued as a potential customer
2. A passionate team of educators
What is the staffing structure of the nursery and what qualifications and experience does each member of staff have?
Will your child be assigned a key worker and how many children will they be responsible for?
Can you see the staff fully engaging with the children, enabling their learning and responding to their needs?
You should feel: Convinced that staff are well-qualified and passionate about doing the best for the children in their care
3. Happy, purposeful children
Do the children seem relaxed at the same time as being busy as they discover and play?
Are upset children being comforted? Are grumpy children being encouraged to find new stimulations?
Is there a stable group of children attending so that they can build friendships?
You should feel: Impressed that the children are so engaged in their activities
4. A comfortable, enabling environment with interesting opportunities for play
Is the premises clean, bright and airy with easy access to outside?
Is there a range of safe equipment and interesting resources for the children to access and use in different ways?
Is there plenty of opportunity for the children to test themselves and learn new skills?
Do the activities seem age appropriate and become more challenging for older children?
You should feel: Fascinated by the variety of stimuli the children are exposed to
5. Well-structured daily routines
Are meal times sociable and relaxed and can children have drinks and snacks throughout the day?
Are the menus nutritious and appealing and can they cater for different dietary requirements?
Are there times for exercise as well as quiet times to relax? Can your child’s routines be incorporated into the day?
Are extra activities offered during the week?
You should feel: Reassured that children are encouraged to have a healthy lifestyle
Every nursery has its own unique culture and ethos which needs to fit with your own values and priorities. By visiting a number of different nurseries, you will get a better awareness of their relative strengths and weaknesses.
The best nursery for you is the one where you feel most confident leaving your child. They have shown that they are committed to doing what is best for your child and you feel happy that you can relate to and interact well with the team on a daily basis.