How do you going about choosing the right nursery for you and your child? Sam Othen, National Children’s Services Manager at Nuffield Health, shares her advice on what you should consider when picking a nursery.

Check the certifications

Check its Ofsted rating. An Ofsted rating takes into account factors such as standards of care, safety, the nursery environment and child development and can provide a snapshot of a nursery and further information. Feel free to discuss this rating with the nursery, as well as details about any other relevant standards, certifications or awards.

Take a tour

All nurseries should be able to provide you with a tour of the facilities. Look out for happy and engaged children, plenty of toys, games and educational resources, entry systems, cleanliness, and professional, friendly staff. Think of questions you have in advance and take a list with you.

What else is on offer?

Many nurseries offer extra-curricular activities which can be great for your child’s learning and development. Nuffield Health nurseries offer baby yoga*, swimming*, French lessons* and even baby massage. We can also provide baby massage training classes for parents so that the technique can be used at home too.

Staff turnover

A nursery should be a dependable and familiar place for children. Ask questions about staff turnover to give you an indication of stability within the team and reassurance that your child will have a consistent key worker.

Nutrition

If your child is having mealtimes at nursery find out all you can about the food that is provided – is it nutritionally balanced? Where is it prepared? Can they accommodate children with food allergies? This way you can feel confident that your child is enjoying the same level of nutrition as they would be at home and that their dietary requirements are being met

Outdoor space

It is important that children have access to an outdoor space to encourage them to be active. Check that the nursery has either its own outdoor space, or easy access to outdoor space nearby, that your child can enjoy.

Costs

Speak to nursery staff regarding costs. Find out if the advertised price covers nappies, food and any additional services or if you’ll have to allow additional budget.  Depending on how you’re going to be paying for your childcare, it is also worth finding out if they accept childcare voucher or offer any funding.

*Baby yoga is available for children under two, swimming is available for children over three and French lessons are available at selected sites.

Do you have any other top tips for picking a nursery? Please share your advice in the box below.