Choosing the right nursery can feel like a bit of a minefield. One person might tell you their child loved it and never wanted to go home, whereas someone else might say that their child had a terrible time and begged not to go every day. You know what is best for your child, but it can be difficult to know what to look for in a nursery. Luckily, help is at hand, and we have some handy pointers to help you spot a good nursery.
Firstly, while you'll get a lot of conflicting opinions, make sure you ask the parents of children who are already there. If possible, try to arrange the start or end of your visit to coincide with dropping off or picking up time so you can ask the other parents what their children think of the nursery. While staff will be able to tell you the facts, their views will be biased, so ask the parents for the most honest opinion.
Also, check the facilities. Particularly important is whether or not the nursery has outdoor space. This means the children will get the chance to go outside and let off steam, along with getting some exercise. There might be opportunities for outdoor games and sports, and find out if there is any sporting equipment such as balls for the children to play with.
How do the other children seem? If they're all laughing and playing nicely together, this is a good sign. Don't necessarily take it as a bad sign if a child starts crying during your visit. Children cry a lot at this age, and this doesn't mean that they're not happy. See how the staff attend to them, as this will speak volumes about the sort of care you can expect for your own child.
The condition of the toys and the environment can also tell you a lot about the nursery. If everything is clean and well-maintained, this is a good sign. Also check if the toys and games are appropriate for the age group. Look out for signs of artwork and crafts. If your child is creative, this gives a good indication that they'll get the chance to use the art materials. Ultimately, it's up to you and your child. No matter how much you like it, if your child doesn't like the feel of the nursery, don't force them to go. The main aim is to find a place they'll be safe and happy, so consider all these factors and weigh them up against how your child reacts to each nursery.