Published on June 23, 2023
One of the most important decisions you will make as the parent of a young child is their nursery selection – something which, compared with the small decisions you face daily, can feel magnanimous.
Here at My Ohana, we know that nursery selection isn’t just important but can feel incredibly daunting, with the financial commitment and the simple fact that you are choosing where to leave your child for a large chunk of the day. That’s why we’ve created this short guide to choosing the best nursery for your child, considering what to look for and how to prioritise the factors that make a nursery good, great, or exceptional. First, what are the most basic factors to consider when considering a nursery?
What better place to start your search for the best nursery for your child, than with the reviews of other parents you know and trust. Word of mouth is a huge deciding factor for parents seeking the perfect nursery for their child – though it’s not the only review that matters, with one specific rating playing a major role in the success of a nursery, educational, or childcare facility.
We are of course talking about Ofsted.
An exceptional nursery will not only be highly rated by Ofsted but will share the full report with prospective parents so that you can read for yourself the quality of the staff and the equipment and facilities on offer. This report is what lets you know that any nursery is formally and regularly inspected with regards to health and safety and the quality of care, with Ofsted registration a must for all modern parents.
Of course, while Ofsted is a good starting point from which to base your search, an exceptional nursery offers more than just an excellent rating – which is where it becomes important to visit each prospective nursery. After all, it is only when you visit a nursery that you can truly get a sense of the way it is run and how the children are encouraged to engage and develop through education and play.
So, what should parents be asking when visiting a prospective nursery?
1. What does a typical day look like?
Knowing the routine for each nursery you visit will make it easier to select the one which you believe is most conducive to the routine that you want your child to follow. From drop-off and pick up times to how the day is split into play and other educational activities, it’s important to find a nursery which exhibits the same values as you as a parent.
And while we’re on the subject of routine and timings…
2. What time is drop off and pick up?
For those parents who work and who require nursery or childcare as part of their own routine, knowing the drop off and pick up times for each prospective nursery can be a real make or break moment. You do not, for example, want to choose a nursery where you would need to leave work early every day in order to get to the nursery in time for pick up (at least, not before checking with work first!)
Look for a nursery that is flexible in terms of its timings, and which offers specific care to those children who need to arrive early or stay late according to their parents’ work schedule.
3. Are snacks and meals provided?
Not only is it important to know if snacks and other food are provided, but you will want to understand more about how the children are fed, whether they follow healthy routines and offer healthy snacks, and how allergies and special dietary requirements or preferences are are handled.
4. How do the children engage?
This is a big one, as the way that the children engage and act when you visit the nursery can tell you everything about how happy they are within the facility. Ideally you want to find a nursery that offers a high level of care and support, plenty of varied activities, and a good balance of free play and more structured activities underpinned by education.
5. How is each child supported?
Within this question, it is advised that parents consider how many children are assigned to each adult, and how they as parents are kept informed of their child’s achievements, challenges, and daily activities. All parents want to hear how their child is getting on, so make sure that you know what kind of contact to expect, from who, and in what format.
Here at My Ohana, we know it’s not just the children who matter but their families too. That’s why every nursery that we work with, and every child that we care for, benefits from a full roster of support which stretches out to include their whole family.
For more information and to access more advice on selecting the right nursery for you, get in touch with us directly.