With the introduction of the additional free nursery hours coming shortly, choosing a nursery will be in the front of more people’s minds. There is no right choice, especially when you’re not sure how you’ll feel when you leave your pride and joy for the first time. However, I hope that this quick little guide can help:
How does it fit in with work?
If you’re lucky enough not to worry about this, then great! However, opening and closing times are vital for most, and their location compared to work is key. It might be easier for the nursery to be located close to work as opposed to close to home
School or Private nursery?
Obviously for the smaller children, this isn’t an option, but it is something to give thought to. For some, the longer opening hours of the private nursery outweighs the benefits of a school nursery. A school nursery is likely to be better in getting a pre-schooler prepared for proper school. However, a private nursery is likely to have better facilities and more freedoms.
Check out OFSTED
Whilst it is only a report about past performance, reading the OFSTED report can provide an excellent insight as to how good a nursery really is. This also applies to childminders, so it can be an invaluable tool.
In your circle of friends, ask around to see if anyone has any recommendations about which ones are good or not so good.
At the end of the day, you’re a customer (sad to think of it that way!) so feel free to ask to look around for an hour and see how your child fits in. You’ll know quite quickly if they feel at home or not!!
Sadly, life comes with a pricetag! However, ask about certain things such as the cost for lunch/snacks, as well as things like visits out of the nursery setting. Also ask how easy/costly it is to increase or reduce your hours, as well as flexibility.
Do the children get to play out on a regular basis? Do they get to go on trips out of the nursery setting? I know some go to the library on a regular basis and so this is something to ask when making enquiries.
At the end of the day, it is a difficult choice – however, it is harder when you say goodbye for the first time. This was my open letter when Heidi started nursery… Starting Nursery
Feel free to add your comments and thoughts into the comments section below, especially as I am sure that I have missed some!! I hope that choosing a nursery is easier after reading this!!
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