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Choosing a nursery

Tips for choosing a nursery


When looking at nurseries, bear in mind the five golden rules (see our Who's caring for your kids? article)  Don’t be swayed by modern, glossy buildings with lashings of primary-colored walls and fabulous new play equipment. Instead, ask these questions:

– Who owns the nursery? Does the owner work in the nursery? Alternatively, who is the manager? Has she been there long? Is it part of a chain? Ask to see the Ofsted report.
– How is the nursery structured to accommodate different age groups?
– Who are the staff caring for your child’s group? Ask about each one – how old are they, what experience have they got, how long they have been at this nursery? Try to get a feel for staff turnover.
A nursery with a low staff turnover is a top indication of a happy environment. It also gives some reassurance that the person your child attaches himself to will stay around for a while.
– Ask about their key worker scheme. A key worker scheme is where each child is allocated a member of staff. There are, however, different definitions of the role of a key worker. Some consider their role is to feed back to the parent on the child’s progress, but this suggests the role is primarily for the parents’ benefit. A real key worker should be the person whom your child bonds with, the person he trusts and identifies as his ‘significant other’ when you’re not around, the one he goes to when he falls over or feels sad, the one who can reassure him and make him feel better. Who will this be?
– Ask if you can stay for a while and spend some time in the nursery. Watch the children and the carers interact. Get on your knees, or sit on a little chair and imagine how the nursery would look to your child. Use your instincts. Does it feel nice?


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