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For parents

14 Questions to ask a Nursery in 2023

Kirstie Davies

Kirstie Davies

Chief Operations Officer

teacher and toddlers in a nursery

What are the most important questions to ask when choosing a day nursery for your child? 

Choosing a day nursery for the first time isn’t always the easiest but to help make things a little easier, we’ve put together the top questions to ask a day nursery with a little insight from our team of internal experts.

Questions to ask

The Nursery

What are your safeguarding policies?

This is possibly one of the most important questions to ask when choosing a day nursery. Safeguarding policies relate to anything that protects children from accidents and illness and includes general health and safety as well as the recruitment of staff and suitability of the premises.

The Early Years Foundation Stage lays out safeguarding and welfare requirements that all nurseries should have in place to protect staff and children. When looking for a nursery for your child, it can be a good idea to ask questions and get to know these requirements so that you can make sure you’re leaving your little one in the best possible hands.

“Fennies ongoing commitment to health and safety means that we go above and beyond the statutory requirements. As part of our dedication to safeguarding, we’re proud members of RoSPA, all our staff members are trained in health and safety and we offer regular internal safeguarding training courses so that parents can take comfort in the standard of care we provide.”

For a more in-depth insight, you can also ask for the latest inspection report.

What are the ratios of staff to children?

When working with young children, there must be enough adults to provide the appropriate level of supervision and to effectively monitor children’s behaviour. Although your child may have a key person, one of the most important questions to ask the Nursery Manager is what their ratios of staff to children are.

At Fennies, our ratios are:

Baby rooms 1 adult:3 children

Toddlers – 1 adult:4 children

Preschool 1 adult:8 children

Child and nursery practitioner smiling

What do my fees include?

It’s good to have an understanding of exactly what your fees get you when choosing a day nursery so that there are no hidden surprises further down the line. Find out whether the nursery fees include their meals, nappies, wipes, activities, and extracurricular sessions.

Do you offer funded places?

There’s a number of different schemes and support available to parents to help with the cost of early years childcare so be sure to add this to your list of questions to ask. But remember this can vary depending on what the nursery accepts so this is something to consider when making your choice.

Child’s Well-being

What additional learning activities do you provide?

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of your child which all nurseries must follow to ensure they’re providing the correct learning and development opportunities for your child.

“At Fennies we provide enhanced delivery of the EYFS framework. These bespoke modules tailored by our in-house educational team includes Makaton, a STEM program, focused art sessions, and well-being activities. Alongside this, we also offer French and Spanish lessons delivered by our internal Linguistics Coaches, daily yoga sessions taught by our fully trained Room Leaders, and sports lessons from our very own coach, inspiring all children to achieve educational success.”

A good way to gain more insight into the success of a day nursery’s educational offering is by looking at their latest inspection report.

How will you support my child’s well-being?

When searching for a nursery, some good questions to ask are the Nursery Manager is “how will you support my child’s nutrition through a balanced diet?” and “do you offer any specialised early years well-being activities?”

Discover how Fennies supports children’s, parents, and staff’s well-being.

Children doing yoga at Fennies wimbledon

How do you ensure children are ready for school?

Children’s early nursery experiences lay the groundwork for their school years from sensory play in the baby room to reading and writing in preschool, so one of the most important questions to ask is how the nursery will help your child prepare for school.

“Our nurseries work closely with local schools to ensure a seamless transition and many activities in our pre-school rooms revolve around school preparation. For example, offering real-life resources that encourage children’s problem-solving skills, communication, social, and physical abilities to ensure they’re fully equipped for their next stage of learning.”

Fennies Sensory Experience

Discover a reimagined learning experience

Nursery Teams

What are your staff recruitment processes?

It may not be an obvious choice, but one of the most interesting questions to ask is how the nursery recruits staff. When looking for a day nursery it can be a good idea to ask about this to ensure you’re leaving your little one in the best possible care.

“Fennies Nurseries has safer recruitment processes in place to ensure all staff are suitable to work in early years childcare, including 2 seperate references, enhanced DBS checks, and a work trial within the nursery meaning we now have an even lower staff turnover. We’ve also recently introduced a health declaration to add an extra layer of safety to this process.”

How do you support staff training?

It’s important that a nursery keeps their team up to date with the latest early years training so they can provide your child with the highest standard of care. Some good questions to ask is whether they offer staff regular training opportunities in child’s safeguarding, how to manage children’s behaviour, effective interactions, and other childcare methods when choosing a nursery.

Which qualifications do your staff have?

There’s often a correlation between the qualifications of staff and the standard of care within a day nursery so we recommend asking “what qualifications do your staff have to support my child’s early years?” Childcare practitioner qualifications include Apprentices, level 2 and 3 qualifications, and degree level.

“At Fennies our lower than the national average staff attrition is a result of how our in-house recruitment team selects the best candidates. We take pride in nurturing and growing our own talent from Apprentices all the way through their childcare career, which in many cases leads them to Nursey Manager roles.”

nursery staff

Parent Partnerships

How will you keep me up to date with my child’s progress?

The transition into nursery life can be an adjustment for both you and your child and it can often take children a while to settle in, especially if it’s the first time. Therefore you’ll want to know how your key worker will keep you up to date with your child’s progress whilst they’re at nursery and all the precious milestones they reach in their early years.

man holding phone

“It’s a huge priority that parents feel supported throughout their time at Fennies. Your child’s key worker will keep in constant communication with you, via the Fennies parent app where they update parents on their child’s daily experiences, learning progress, and overall development through pictures, videos, and messages.”

Covid Operations & Procedures

How do you ensure your nurseries are a Covid safe environment?

If you’re looking for a day nursery during lockdown, make sure that they’re regularly reviewing government guidance and have an operational plan put together. As well as this, some good questions to ask include what their cleaning routines are and how they’re minimising transmission risk during drop off and collection times.

What Covid policies do you have in place?

To ensure your child’s safety, find out if the nursery’s Covid policies include how children are grouped to lower the risk of transmission, what health and safety precautions are in place, and whether they have a dedicated isolation room.

How can I visit the nursery?

Choosing a day nursery during Covid times is an entirely new experience and many parents are finding themselves registering a child at a nursery they’ve never stepped inside of. Because of this, it can be a good idea to ask if the nursery can offer a virtual visit as this is the next best thing to an in-person visit. You can explore nurseries in your local area at childcarelocations.co.uk or childcarenurseries.co.uk.

“During the pandemic we were unable to allow parents to visit in line with the government guidelines. However we understood the importance of visiting a nursery and because of this, we launched live virtual tours. This allows parents to book a convenient time and be shown around virtually by a member of our admissions team. This proved incredibly successful and is something we continue to offer”

Fennies Woking nursery

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