Are you starting the search for childcare in the local area? There are lots of options.
Here are 5 tips to help you navigate your way to the best fit for your family:
Decide what kind of setting suits your child
There are many different styles of childcare, so it’s important you’re sure what will suit your child’s needs and interests. Some settings are more play-based, while others weave reading, writing and maths into the day, right from age three. For many parents, outside space and the freedom to run around is an important consideration, so look at the physical location and make sure it suits your requirements.
Another important consideration is the number of children the nursery takes in one session. Nurseries can range in size from 10 to 60+ places. The hours that childcare is provided is also important. Lives are increasingly busy, so if you need wraparound care, it’s worth considering that during your search.
Go and take a look
It’s a good idea to visit several settings and ask questions in person about the childcare provided. As soon as you step through the door, you’ll start to make your own impressions about the setting. You may want to take your child with you on these visits, as the way staff respond to you and your child is important!
You should be looking for:
- A warm welcome!
- Trained and experienced staff who seem responsive to children’s needs
- Busy children who appear happy and purposeful
- Safe, secure and clean premises – with outside play space
- A full and varied activity programme with individual children’s interests in mind
- An idea of how your child’s progress will be managed and how they are being prepared for the next stage in their education
- Cultural sensitivity
What’s the next stage?
It might be hard to consider your little one going off to school, but it’s a good idea to consider this. Is the Nursery linked to any particular school? If so, how do they support your child with their transition and you with the admissions process?
A Teaching Nursery will often be linked to a school, so if you like the ethos of the Nursery, the chances are this will follow right through into subsequent years.
Ask these questions
There are a few key things you should ask of Nursery staff during your visit
- Be sure to find out about the ratio of staff to children.
- Are the staff qualified teachers and/or childcare professionals?
- Do they operate a ‘keyworker’ scheme (a dedicated staff member for your child)?
- The approach to discipline is also important. How are children rewarded and how are they encouraged to learn from mistakes?
- Does the Nursery encourage children to be adaptable, independent and resilient learners?
- How are children eased into the routines? This is so vital in helping the transition from home to school?
- What is included in the fees; lunch, snacks, activities. Does the Nursery accept Government payment schemes?
Register your interest
If you’ve found the right setting for you and your child, register your interest early. There is likely to be a registration fee, but if you’ve found the perfect place, it’s worth securing it.
Do you like the sound of the above? Check out Ranby House School, an independent school and teaching nursery educating children aged 3-11 in the heart of North Nottinghamshire.
Liked this? Then you’ll love…