1. Can I please see the most up to date OFSTED report?
This can even be read before making the trip to visit. The report will give you a clear insight into the aspects that are great and what’s not so great, all from the PROFESSIONALS point of view. When being shown around the nursery, be aware that there will be ZERO negatives from the staff so let the OFSTED report be your eyes and ears!
2. Do you use the Childcare vouchers scheme and subsidise spaces for three year olds?
You still don’t need to leave the comfort of your own home, ask this on the phone before visiting. A make or break for most parents as you don’t want to fall in love with a nursery that doesn’t accept these. Or, even worse, finding out just before your child’s third birthday that they don’t offer free hours.
3. What do you do about security, safety and people entering the building?
SAFTEY IS KEY! Every parent wants their child to be safe and happy at nursery, so keep your eye out for crucial signs. When you enter the building as a ‘stranger’ observe: how do they treat you? What checks do they do? Do you they make sure handles are high enough so children can’t leave the room? Do they do regular safety checks?
4. Do the children follow a daily routine?
What time are meals given? Do the babies and toddlers follow a routine? How often can the children nap? You want to know this before sending your child so that they can adapt accordingly with your home routine.
5. Can I see the garden space and how often can the children come outside?
Fresh air is essential for child development so checking the outside area and how often the children go out is important! All children should be outside at least once a day and any children above 2 should be outside twice a day. Free flow should also be encouraged within the nursery to allow older children independence and choice.
6. How many children do you have to a staff member?
Ofsted regulations do state a minimum requirement of staff: child ratio. However, having more staff than required in each room will provide children with more one to one attention and staff flexibility. Remember, the regulations are the minimum requirement for safety NOT the ideal solution!
7. Do you have a settling in policy?
Starting at a new nursery can be a scary time for your child and you! Providing a supportive settling in period is critical. Ask how they manage it, what their key person policy is and how communication to you happens.
8. What meals do you provide for the children?
What goes into a child is vital as they are growing so be sure to ask how they plan their meals, where the food comes from and if you can have a copy of what they provide. Most nurseries adapt meals for parental preference such as only one sweet pudding a day, ask if this is available.