Enrolling your child in an early years setting is a big transition for both parents and children. This may be the first time they have to be apart and it can be daunting for both. Giving parents the peace of mind that their child will be receiving the best of care and ensuring that children are safe and have an environment where they can explore, imagine and be creative.
Find out which nurseries are in the area, by using reputable Childcare listings sites such as www.childcare.co.uk and also search on the local authority’s education and family services page. You can check the quality of the nursery by looking up their latest Ofsted report at www.ofsted.gov.uk. To find out the members of staff and their qualifications, you can check on each nursery’s website individually.
For parents who do not drive, they may choose a nursery that is easily accessed by bus. If a parent needs to commute to work, they can choose nurseries which are close to train stations. Another consideration is for car drivers, is there a safe place for them to park?
What is the standard of food prepared at this nursery? Do they offer fresh, hot meals? Or do they require each child to bring in a packed lunch? Are they offering a selection of fruit at snack time? If your child has allergies, find out what their policies and procedures are.
The government provides 15 hours of free universal funding for all 3 and 4 year olds. Additionally, some working parents may be eligible for 30 hours. There is also funding available for 2 year olds, however, some nurseries do not allow children until they are 3. Another point to consider is that private nurseries may stretch the funding throughout the year, which means that you would still have some nursery fees to pay during each term, even if your child is only attending the nursery for 15 hours. It is advised to apply for funding in advance to ensure you secure funded space during the days and hours you need.
Many nurseries will have set blocs of time, such as morning or afternoon sessions, which they will offer. If you need your child to be present the whole day while you are at work, this may be accommodated at additional costs. Some nurseries are only open during regular school timings and do not offer after hours care.
Book a Visit
Make an appointment to visit prospective nurseries with your child. This way both parent and child can get a feel for the environment and parents can see if their child is happy or excited to be in this surrounding. This will be a great opportunity for parents to also communicate with their children about big changes ahead.
Even if you don’t personally know any other parents at the nursery, you can post on social media sites in community groups to find out other parents’ reviews, recommendations, and overall feedback of a particular nursery.