How did we choose a nursery?
When visiting nurseries around our area in Greater London, our experience of it all was the following:
- One of the first things we did was to take a look at Google maps in some locations that were close to our home or workplaces, and searched for ‘nurseries near me’ or ‘nurseries in (name of hometown/workplace)’.
- You’ll find a list of available nurseries. These listings generally show a customer review and star rating. So one of the first things we did was to look at the rating of each of the nurseries near us and read what people had to say about them, but some of reviews we would see invalid if they are left during similar time.
- We checked out the websites of the ones we were most interested in. When on their site, we learned as much as we could about their particular school; what hours they provided, nursery fees, what experiences your child will have when there, staff credentials and qualifications, meal options, health and safety, how child updates are communicated (the staff will let you know how your child is getting on; what they’ve done that day and what they’ve eaten for example. Some nurseries provide updates via an app), Ofsted reports etc.
- Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. They are an official department with the purpose of inspecting service providers. Places they inspect generally are those that provide education and skills to people of all ages e.g. children & learners.
- We used their reports to see how the particular nursery school we’re interested performed during inspections, included history record. They provide nurseries a score for overall effectiveness but they also break this score down into separate sub categories. The sub categories include; quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, leadership and management, and the previous overall effectiveness score. We use this report because we want to see how one nursery compares with another we’re interested in and also how the nursery has improved over time. In addition to the scores, Ofsted reports also provide a lot of detail into how the nursery is run, what they do well, and what needs improving. This helps build a more vivid image in your head of what your child will experience if they attended this nursery.
- We then booked in nursery visit days. It’s good to actually go to the nursery to see in person what the environment and staff are like. Its also good for your little one to experience the nursery environment themselves; do they interact well with others there, do they look eager to try facilities and play with toys themselves, do they seem interested in what other kids are doing.
- The nursery visit also allows you to ask the all important questions. Sometimes it’s beneficial to hear the answers first hand from the staff. They will also elaborate on questions and provides answers to questions you didn’t even think of asking.