Thom Crabbe (Childcare Expert) gives expert video advice on: How can I find out about nurseries in my area?; What should I look for in a good nursery? and more...
What should I look for in a good nursery?
There are a number of things to look for in a good nursery and probably the most important thing to do is to go and pay the nursery a visit. When you go in you should notice what the atmosphere is like and hopefully it is a calm atmosphere with children busily engaged in a range of activities. It's important to see if there's a range of activities for different aged children and maybe some different areas for children according to their age. You might look to see if there's a key worker scheme in place whereby a particlar worker would take particular responsibility for your child. What kinds of arrangements do they have for reporting back to parents on the day the child has had and what they've eaten and so on? It's important to look at things like the sleeping areas, the outdoor areas, and what arrangements there are for eating. You can also look at the Offset Report, all registered nurseries will have had an offset inspection and that can give you some idea as to what inspectors thought of the nursery itself. Speaking to other parents that use the nursery is also really important and that will give you a good idea of what to expect.
Is there a waiting list for nurseries?
Yes, most good nurseries do have a waiting list, so you probably need to plan your childcare many months ahead of when you're going to need to use it. Some parents even think about putting their name down for a nursery soon after the child is born.
What kinds of activities are available in nurseries?
Nurseries should provide a good range of age-appropriate activities. This may include things like sound and water play, arts and crafts work and beginning to explore books. Good nurseries will also have things like a home corner, where children can get involved in some creative play. If the nursery provides places for young babies, you want to ensure that a range of suitable toys are available, and that there are good areas for babies to crawl around and begin to explore the environment. It's also important to see that there's some outside space where perhaps children can get involved in some more physical activity. A good nursery should provide a very wide selection of activities which are suitable for different ages of children.