Assessing the quality of care offered by a potential nursery is a similar process to choosing a school. Evaluating the capabilities of both the Manager and the staff team is crucial. Research their qualifications and experience, as well as the values and principals behind their educational philosophy. Ensuring both teaching style and the way learning experiences are presented meets with your opinions is important. Are you looking for a more traditional educational environment or a more relaxed approach, with perhaps greater focus on the outdoor classroom or play?

Getting a feel for the general atmosphere is a key part of establishing if you will feel comfortable to leave your child in their care. For this reason, visit on a normal working day and make appointments with more than one nursery, so you can make comparisons. Ask if they have references available from current parents. As well as asking staff questions, observe, getting a feel for the type of relationship the staff have with the children and how do the children interact with one another?

Ask about staff to child ratios and what processes they use to monitor children’s learning and development, as well as how and how often they keep parents informed. How do they support children with their natural development of literacy and numeracy skills and are there opportunities to develop creativity and the imagination?

What is the routine for a typical day and how does this vary by age group? What is the procedure if your child becomes ill during the day and what type of food is provided? Is there a quiet, comfortable space for rest during the day?

Do the facilities appear safe, well-supervised and appropriate for a range of activities? Is equipment reasonably new and well-organised and does the space appear clean, bright and welcoming?