Keren Ben-Ezra, founder of Keren’s Nursery, answers our question on finding the perfect place to start your child’s education
There are many nurseries to choose from out there and it is very hard to know what is best for you and your child. Most of the good nurseries become fully booked a year in advance, so make sure you are early to book. Invest time in viewing nurseries that have good reputations. The best nurseries will be the ones you received personal recommendations about from parents. After you have compiled a shortlist of reputable nurseries, arrange to visit them. The most important points to look at when viewing a nursery are:
Are the children happy? Do they look interested, engaged and busy?
‘Free play’ and ‘child-led activities’ are not a valid excuse when children appear passive, disinterested and bored.
Are staff kind, engaging, attentive and passionate about childcare?
The nursery facilities are of little importance if the staff looking after your child appear remote and disinterested.
Is the nursery clean and organised?
Good nurseries usually appear very busy to the eye, with filled display boards and tables laden with activities, but that is not to be confused with being unclean.
Is there a daily routine?
Children thrive on routine. Knowing what comes next is vital for their wellbeing and confidence. Often nurseries lacking proper routine experience high levels of noise and chaos from bored and often unsettled children.
Above all, follow your instincts.
Following a visit to the nursery, do you trust it to look after your child? If your gut tells you no, continue on your search.
On top of all the above, it is always good to make sure the nursery is registered with Ofsted, and to read their last report, as Ofsted will have made sure the legal requirements have been met. The National Day Nursery Association has a quality assurance scheme which is a very high benchmark – look to see if the nursery has this accreditation as it will be an indicator of excellent practice.