The right nursery can give your child a great start to their learning and development journey. In one of our earlier articles, we highlighted that children who went to nursery were more likely to develop social skills faster than those who stayed at home. It further stated that such children also experience a 10% greater positive influence on their skills compared to the latter. This is definitely good news for work at home parents.
However, finding the right nursery can be a challenging task. There are so many things to consider before you decide where to enrol your child. How can you ensure that your child will be happy? Will the environment suit them? And, most importantly, how do you make that crucial choice?
Arise has come up with a step by step guide to help work at home professionals choose a nursery that will be best suited to their children.
The biggest hurdle for work at home parents – where to start?
Thinking about where and how to start searching for a nursery? Your best resources will be the internet (Gov.uk or Directgov.uk), contacting your GP for nurseries in your area or browsing through online directories. You could also ask parents in your neighbourhood for any recommendations. Likewise, if you have a particular kindergarten in mind, reach out to them.
Once you have your list prepared, check the location of each one and read Google reviews from other parents, and OFSTED reports to narrow down your list further. This will provide you with a list of reasons as to what kind of rating each nursery has and why, which will aid your decision-making process.
Let’s get to snooping!
Once you have your initial list finalised, it’s worth booking appointments so that you canexperience first-hand what each nursery has to offer and whether or not it will be suitable for your child. What is your first impression when you arrive? Does the ambience look good? Are the staff well-trained and experienced? Are the premises safe and hygienic? Do they have fun activities planned for children?
Try arriving when other parents are around. Strike up a casual conversation with them to find out more about that nursery. Do their thoughts resonate with your expectations?
Weighing up your options
Once you are done with your visits, you will have the best options left, but that doesn’t necessarily leave you with an easy decision. So, how do you make the right choice? Ask yourself the following questions –
- Upon your visit, did the building look well-kept and hygienic?
- How do they keep the premises and children safe and secure?
- Were the personnel at the entrance welcoming and friendly?
- Were the staff qualified enough?
- Were the days’ activities structured according to children’s enthusiasm and interests?
- Did the children look well-stimulated and engaged?
- Did the indoor and outdoor equipment appear to be of good quality?
- Do they provide meals? If so, then what kind of meals are provided?
- Can you contact them during the day and get real-time updates on your child?
- What was the ratio of staff to children?
- What were the policies for managing discipline among children?
- Did the nursery have the necessary health and safety regulations?
- Did it have a key-worker scheme where one member of staff has the main responsibility of looking after your child?
You could add more to this list of questions to select a nursery which will nurture your child and improve their development, confidence, and ability to interact with others.
Yes, you can be flexible…
So, you went through the entire painstaking process of filtering through various nurseries and finally decided on the one which you think would work best. Yet, somehow, things haven’t worked out quite how you’d hoped. So, what do you do now? There’s no compulsion to stick with your initial choice. If things are not working out, a good nursery will listen to your concerns and do their best to help you manage a smooth transition to another provider. It may be that your ideas of what you want for your child have changed, or maybe your child is not happy there – whatever the case may be, have a chat with your child’s key-worker or the nursery manager and let them know your concerns.