Choosing a nursery can be an emotional decision. Most parents struggle with feeling a little guilty and everyone wants to choose the best childcare setting for their child.

It is often worth visiting a number of different nurseries to find the one that suits you and your family best. First impressions are important and a nursery should be clean, warm and welcoming with friendly, confident staff. Bringing your child with you on such a visit is a great idea as it will allow them to see the nursery, play with the toys and meet the staff. Here are a few suggestions of what to look for when considering a nursery:

  • What are your opening times? +

    Please check our opening times page for more information
  • Is the nursery you have chosen registered with Ofsted? +

    They should have their registration certificate on display and you can ask to see their latest Ofsted report or download a copy prior to your visit at
  • What are the ratios of staff to children? +

    Does the nursery adhere to the recommended ratios and are they maintained during break and lunch times? What percentage of staff hold relevant childcare qualifications? Does the nursery employ support staff to allow the childcare practitioners to focus on the children?
  • What are the security measures of the nursery like? +

    How does the nursery ensure your child is cared for safely in the building and on outings? What procedures are in place to ensure only an authorised person may collect your child?
  • What else is included in the price? +

    Do the childcare fees cover nappies / wipes / milk / sun cream etc?
  • What sorts of meals are provided? +

    Are they freshly prepared and does the menu change regularly?  Does the menu cater for weaning babies?
  • What opportunities are there for children to access outdoor play? +

    Is there direct access from the rooms? Does the environment promote healthy physical development?
  • Is the environment a happy and positive one? +

    This is something you can observe for yourself: Do the children smile at each other and the staff? Do the staff give the children plenty of positive reinforcement and praise? Are the children happy and well-occupied and is there a variety of play equipment for them to use with staff and independently? Do the staff smile and acknowledge visitors?
  • Where do the younger children sleep? +

    How is this area monitored to ensure any baby who wakes up distressed is comforted immediately?
  • What does the nursery want to know from you? +

    This is particularly important. The more information the nursery staff have about your child and any special requirements they may have (e.g. dietary or medical), the better they can tailor their provision to suit your child.
  • Does the nursery have an induction process for new children and parents? +

    Parents and children should be invited to spend some time in the nursery settling in before they start at the nursery. It allows the parent and child to build trust in the nursery, its staff and also build relationships with the children and parents already there.
  • How are the parents involved in the nursery? +

    Does the nursery welcome visits from parents and encourage parents to become part of the nursery? Does the nursery have regular parents’ evenings when their child’s progress can be discussed? For a full list of nurseries in your area contact your local Children’s Information Service.
  • 1