'Tips for Finding the Best Pre-School/Nursery for Your Child.'
Updated: Jun 18, 2020
This post is a collation of information from various UK based mums. These are just opinions and tips, but use your intuition and do your own research too, to make sure you secure the perfect nursery for your little one!
1. Worker-to-Child Ratios
Does the nursery have enough staff per child. And good place to start is to always have two workers in the room as a minimum.
2. Always Check the Ofsted Rating
Ofsted: Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills. It reports directly to Parliament and is both independent and impartial. By law it must inspect schools with the aim of providing information to parents, to promote improvement and to hold schools to account. Currently, there are four overall judgements that Ofsted can reach about schools: Outstanding; Good; Requires Improvement; and Inadequate.
Check the Ofsted reports online, there will be one for every school. Don't just pick that nursery because it's only 10 minutes from your house; it may not have the best reviews, so always do your research!
3. Resources and Play Areas
Check that the environment is clean, welcoming and engaging for your child. Is there enough scope for your child to play in other areas: not just a class room, but also outdoors, which is especially important for our active kids!
4. Nursery Feedback
Does the nursery provide detailed feedback on your child's progress and development, and what do these reports include (if provided at all)?
5. Montessori style vs Non-Montessori
This is completely dependant on your child and how they learn, and what you believe as a parent. In a NON-Montessori style learning environment, teachers will have a clear plan and timetable for the day that all children are expected to follow. In Montessori nurseries, a range of activities are set up and your child has more freedom to choose what they want to do, engaging with each for as little or as long as they want.
6. Book in to visit various nurseries, NOT JUST ONE
Go in and see how the teachers interact with children (e.g. are they enthusiastic?). What are the ages of the teachers? It's good to have a mixture, but I'm of the opinion that it's good to have a few staff who are more experienced, if you know what I mean.
7. Don't just rely on a visit, ORGANISE A TRIAL DAY
This is the best way to make your final decision. If you are stuck between a few good ones, book a trial day and see how your child takes to each nursery.