Are you looking for a nursery for your child to start in the autumn? Every parent wants the best for their child and when it comes to looking for high-quality childcare, you need to ask the right questions to ensure you feel confident and trusting of those with whom you leave your child with.
If you are placing your child in someone else’s care it is only right to ask the nursery’s management or ownership team about the experience and qualifications of their team members and how staff are recruited. It is important to note that the nursery manager must hold at least a full and relevant level three qualification and half of the staff must hold a full and relevant level two. New staff must also have a 12-hour paediatric first aid certificate and undertake regular training including workshops.
Recruitment for childcare roles is a highly specialised area, when a role involves direct and regular contact with children, caution must be applied. Any nursery you look to place your child in should have effective systems in place to check the suitability of candidates including implementing a disclosing and barring service check and proper vetting of candidates experience, skills and qualifications. Finding the right nursery for your child and ensuring their time is child’s play think of the following:
Does the nursery offer funded places for two, three, and four-year-olds?
Most nurseries do offer the free entitlement but it is always a good idea to ask upfront to guarantee you know what fees might or might not apply from the outset.
How do you keep parents informed of a child’s progress?
Great nursery staff will monitor childhood development and should work to ensure each child makes progress. Ask how the nursery goes about feeding this back to you as a parent and if it offers a tracker.
How is children’s behaviour managed?
It is common for nurseries to have a behaviour policy, so as a parent ask what it is and how they discipline the children in their care – are these the methods you would use as a parent?
What meals and snacks are on offer?
Nurseries increasingly provide a range of food options so it is important you know how healthy the options are, the food hygiene practices the nursery follows and draw the nursery staff’s attention to any allergies your child may have.
What is the staff-to-child ratio?
As a general rule, children aged two or younger it should be 1:3 whilst for three and older it should be around 1:8 should the staff member not have qualified teacher status, early years professional status or early years status.
What activities are available?
Today, nurseries provide a range of activities for children – the activities should meet the needs of children of all ages, will they meet the needs of your child? Think about your child’s particular interests at this point.
By Jacob White