So you have a nanny, but you also want a pre-school for your little one. When it comes to selecting pre-school care, our ten top tips can help…
At Eden we recognise that as well as employing a nanny to look after your children, you may also want to enlist your little one in pre-school. If that is the case, then the following top tips may help when it comes to deciding which one is right for you and yours…
1) Turn up unannounced
Turning up unannounced at the nursery can be really telling. Ad hoc visits mean you get to see it functioning as it really is, and not for example, when they’ve planned to dazzle prospective parents through an organised open day. (I was mostly shown around without an appointment, although a few arranged one for another time).
2) Talk to other parents
Talking to other parents can often be more helpful than checking a potentially out of date Ofsted report. Finding out from those in the know, for example, by chatting to other mums at the local park, is a great way to learn of any potential positives and/or negatives.
3) Is EVERYONE at the nursery friendly and welcoming?
On entering the building, a smile from staff members should be one of the first things you notice.
4) Is every member of staff permanent?
What is the nursery’s policy on bank staff? Are there going to be new faces every other week? Or are the only bank staff ever employed, the same two nursery-nurses each occasion? Are bank staff only ever required for example to cover holiday and sick leave?
5) Is every member of staff fully qualified?
It is perfectly normal to find that some members of staff are not fully qualified – yet training on the job. That’s fine, but how many staff in the room are actually in training versus fully qualified?
6) Staff’s dedication ought to be obvious
Nursery practitioners are trained to understand the development of all children from birth up to eight years. They should work to educate the child whilst caring for the child. Devotion, commitment and enthusiasm of staff members are key to a happy childcare environment. What does your gut instinct say?
7) The Early Years Foundation
A nursery environment adheres to The Early Years Foundation and these guidelines are in place for a reason. Your child’s nursery ought to offer every aspect of play, and through that play encourage your child to learn. After all, the future success of each child starts here.
When visiting a prospective nursery, take into consideration the facilities available. Does it have a truly great space? How much equipment is housed – from dress up to musical instruments, to bikes and climbing frames? And remember, if you think it’s a big and fabulous space, imagine the colossal pleasure it could bring a two-year-old!
9) Healthy eating ought to be encouraged at a nursery facility with a fantastic ever-changing menu. A well balanced diet is hugely important to the development of little ones.
10) Settling in
Settling in to the nursery environment ought to be something your child does within six weeks. At the end of the day, a contented child will be the best way of knowing that your little one is happy and settled, although ideally you will have regular feedback from staff members supporting this.
When it comes to feedback, being told your child has enjoyed their day is one thing, but being able to read it on an advice sheet, post session is another. As a parent you can read exactly what has gone on in their world that day, what they have been up to, as well as finding out the practicalities of their day; from their appetite to nappies and activities to naps.
Feedback is great too as it allows you the parent or nanny, to talk to your child/charge about their day.
For more advice visit The Good Schools Guide