Choosing a nursery for your child.
Choosing a day nursery is one of the most important and hardest decisions a parent will have to make. Many of our staff have had to do this in the past for their own children and know how hard it is.
It’s really important that you ask friends and family for recommendations but it is equally as important to go and have a look at as many as you can and ask lots of questions.
Each nursery will be different. They will have different facilities, different sessions, different costs, different environments and different atmospheres. What will be right for one family may not be right for you.
Below is a list of important points to consider when looking at a nursery:
Always ensure that the nurseries you are looking at are Ofsted registered and that their registration certificate is displayed alongside their current insurance certificate.
What experience/qualifications do the staff have?
Statutory guidance state that the manager must hold at least a full and relevant level 3 early years qualification and at least half all other staff must hold a full and relevant level 2.
At Lilliput Day Nursery, all of our managers have a full and relevant level 3 early years qualification with many years experience with Lilliput. In addition we have named Deputy managers, Senior Nursery Nurses and Room Leaders, all with many years of experience and full and relevant level 3 early years qualifications.
All of our nursery practitioners are qualified to at least level 3 with one apprentice working towards a level 3 early years qualification.
Paediatric First Aid.
Statutory requirements state that day nurseries must have at least one member of staff with a paediatric first aid certificate on site at all times and that all newly qualified staff must have this.
We have always ensured that 100% of our staff have a 12 hour paediatric first aid certificate. (We opened June 2001) In addition to this we have achieved the accreditation of Millies Mark. The gold standard in paediatric first aid which means our nurseries and practitioners go above and beyond what is legally required to ensure the children in our care are as safe as possible.
All of our staff undertake other regular training whether that be in-house at staff meetings, external courses or online courses to update their knowledge and skills in for example Safeguarding, Behaviour management and food hygiene & Safety.
How do you ensure safe recruitment of staff?
Nurseries must have effective systems in place to check the suitability of those who have regular contact with children.
We have a robust recruitment procedure in place. Vacancies are advertised and all interested applicants are required to complete an application form which asks for qualifications, experience, previous and present employment, reference information, any safeguarding or disciplinary matters and DBS status. These applications are then shortlisted before those that meet our requirements are invited for an interview. After a successful interview, they are invited to spend a few hours with us for a trial so we can see their practice.
References and a DBS are then done along with checking previous employment before a job offer is made. Once with us they go through an induction process whilst on probation.
Do you offer funded 2-, 3- and 4-year-old places?
We offer 2, 3 and 4 year old funded places for 15 and 30 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year, in line with the statutory requirements. This equates to 570 hours or 1140 hours stretched over up to 51 weeks a year. Please speak to the manager for more details. (conditions apply)
What are the ratios of staff to children?
Under 2 the ratios are 1:3
2 year olds 1:4
3 and over 1:13 where a person with Qualified Teacher status, Early Years Professional status or Early Years Teacher status is working directly with children or 1:8 where they are not.
We follow the statutory requirements for ratios but never exceed the 1:8 ratio for over 3’s. Wherever possible we exceed staffing requirements by employing an extra member of staff, but they will cover for staff absences when needed.
Will my child have a key person?
Each child will be assigned a key person. Their role is help build a secure relationship with both you and your child and be the person who ensures the care is tailored to your child’s needs. This will be the person you go to to discuss your child’s progress and any concerns you may have.
How do you ensure the safety of the children in your care?
Nurseries are required to carry out risk assessments both of the indoor and outdoor space and whenever they take children out. They are also required to record any accidents or incidents and any medication that is given.
We have a comprehensive file of written risk assessments, however not all are written. There are many that are done visually each day by our experienced practitioners. For example, whenever the children go into the garden, a visual risk assessment is done by the member of staff taking the children outside.
In addition to this:
Is the nursery bright, warm, clean and welcoming?
Is the equipment good quality, clean, safe and appropriate?
Is there a safe and clean outside play area?
What sort of meals are provided and at what time?
Is the food fresh?
Can the nursery provide for special diets?
Are the menus changed on a regular basis?
Do the children in the nursery look happy and well occupied?
Are the children using a variety of equipment and are staff involved with their play?
Are the staff happy, relaxed, well presented, calm and confident?
Do parents and staff work in partnership, recording your child’s activities and achievements?
Questions to be discussed during your visit could be diet, potty training, emergency procedures, behaviour management and other nursery policies.
What activities do you provide?
At Lilliput Day Nursery we provide a range of activities that meet the needs of children of all ages and abilities. We ask that you share your children’s particular interests with us so that we can cater for their individual needs.
Our experienced staff provide age and ability appropriate activities following the children’s interests. We are moving away from plastic toys and towards open ended, natural and recycled resources that encourage and inspire the children’s curiosity and imagination.
We have a beautiful dedicated baby room and an awe inspiring free flow area for our 2 – 5 year olds.
We have a lovely outside space that the children access in most weathers. We provide sunhats and suncream and all in one rain suits and wellies and all the children including the babies spend a lot of time outdoors.
How do you support children’s learning and development?
Nurseries are required to deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage and provide activities that are based on your child’s interests and that help them to progress in their development.
All of our nursery practitioners are knowledgeable in the EYFS and are happy to discuss your child’s progress with you. We have regular parents evenings and workshops throughout the year to support this.
How do you keep parents informed of their child’s progress?
Nursery staff will carry out observations on children that help them to ensure each child is making progress and also identify any area of need. They are required to provide ongoing feedback and at the age of between 2 and 3 years provide a progress check.
At Lilliput Day Nursery we use Tapestry, a secure online learning journey that only the nursery and parents have access to. We will do regular observations and videos of your child and we encourage you share your photos and videos with us to help promote parent partnerships and to provide for your child’s needs and interests in the best way possible.
What types of meals and snacks do you provide?
Nurseries will usually provide meals and snacks, and must maintain good food hygiene and provide information on any allergens contained in the food they provide. They must work closely with you to meet the dietary requirements of your child.
We have our own cook who prepares and cooks fresh, healthy meals every day for our children. The menu is planned following guidance from the Children’s Food Trust and Startwell.
We cater for special dietary requirements and work closely with families to ensure we can meet the children’s needs wherever possible.
How do you manage children’s behaviour?
We have a behaviour policy and use positive methods such as distraction and positive role modelling. We have a nursery SENCO who is able to support the children, parents and our nursery practitioners and also work closely with other professionals such as Health Visitors and local authority SENCO’s.
What do your fees include?
Each Nursery sets their own fees, so check what’s included from the outset.
Our nursery fees are fully inclusive of everything (eg, nappies, wipes, cream, suntan lotions, meals etc) for full fee paying children.
What are your opening hours?
We are open from 7.30am-6.00pm, Monday to Friday, 51 weeks of the year. We close for all bank and public holidays and for one week at Christmas. Full fees are payable for bank and public holidays but we do not charge for Christmas week.
If you are using a funded place, not all of these times, weeks and sessions are available to you.
A good nursery will be happy to answer your questions or welcome you back for a further visit. In fact we encourage you to ask as many questions as you can and to come back more than once to see us. Choosing a nursery is an important decision. For many years we encouraged prospective parents to just ‘drop in’ without an appointment and if the manager was available, they would show you around. However, we have recently taken the decision to ask that you call to arrange a convenient time to visit so that we know who we are inviting into the nursery. This has become part of our safeguarding policy and brings us in line with schools and Local Authority settings and helps us keep our children and staff safe.
After the visit:
When you leave the nursery it is important to think about your visit.
Did you feel welcome and enjoy the visit?
Was the nursery friendly, relaxed and warm?
Did the staff respond and communicate with you?
Did the staff come across as confident, knowledgeable and caring?
Did the nursery appear clean, safe and secure?
Would you be happy leaving your child at the nursery?
If your child went with you, did they enjoy the visit?
Most importantly, do not be afraid to ask lots of questions and to visit as many times as you would like to.
If we can be of any help to you in choosing your nursery place please get in touch with us.