Finding a suitable nursery for your toddler can be a real challenge. Now that Georgie is almost two and a half, we feel that he would really benefit from attending a nursery. Since having it confirmed that Georgie has delayed speech and language, we’ve been doing everything we can to support him. And we’d got to a point where we thought that going to nursery would be a big step forward for him.
With this in mind, we’ve been doing some research in our local area and making a list of all of the nurseries which we think would be good for Georgie. It’s been a long process, I must say. There are so many childcare providers on the market. In the past few weeks alone we’ve looked at countless websites, read testimonies and OFSTED Reports. Then from all of this, we booked visits to a few places. Before, finally, finding the best nursery for him!
When looking for a nursery, we started out with thinking about what Georgie likes doing. What his strengths are and what he enjoys. We know that Georgie loves spending his time outdoors, as much as possible, so for us this was a big factor. We decided to look for a forest schools approved nursery; knowing that they would encourage outdoor learning and development, this felt like it would be perfect for Georgie.
We also know that Georgie will not manage with big expectations. Georgie very much has his own agenda and he is constantly on the go; straight away we knew that there was no point in sending him to a nursery that would expect him to sit down, follow the group and that had strict rules. This would not work and would most likely negatively impact on Georgie.
So, Tip number one. Think about what your child is like and what they enjoy doing. Try and find a nursery which is going to be suitable for their needs and that you feel will actually benefit their development. For us, we also thought about the things which we knew would not work for Georgie. This helped us to cross quite a few places off of our list and it helped to narrow down the search.
Another big factor for me was doing our research. So this forms tip Number Two. I was not happy to just send my child to any old nursery. It had to be somewhere that I would be happy to leave him for up to 10 hours a day. Of course, pricing was also going to be a big factor so that was something which we looked into. But I also looked at parents testimonies, OFSTED Reports, staff comments (where they were available). It’s surprising what you can tell from the website of a company.
I’ve always felt like the more a company publishes on their website, the less they have to hide. That’s just something which I feel, it’s not necessarily true. Some nursery’s have very minimal information online, where as others have everything from staff information, to menu’s, to fee’s to parents testimonies. The more information which I find on a website, the more likely I am to enquire as I think you can get a better feel for what to expect when you arrange a visit, which is going to be my next tip.
Tip number three. Arrange visits – you need to feel comfortable with the place that you are sending your child. This was a big thing for me. I walked into a few nurseries which just didn’t feel ‘right’ and I knew that I wouldn’t be comfortable with sending Georgie there. I cannot explain to you what didn’t feel right, or why this was, but something just did not click. The minute I walked into the right nursery, I knew. I felt happy, I was comfortable and could see that Georgie would enjoy being there.
Of course, this is going to be a different nursery for everyone. What feels right for one family won’t necessarily feel right for another. This has got to be down to individual preference and I truly think that you will know when you find the right place.
Don’t be pressured into accepting a place for your child there and then. Any good nursery will let you have time to think about whether you want to accept a placement or not. They will understand that you probably need to go away and have a think, take in the information which they have provided and make an informed decision.
If you need to, go and look around multiple nurseries before making your decision. At least then you will have several places to compare and you can find the one which feels ‘right’, like I’ve talked about in Tip #3.
When we looked around Georgie’s nursery, they were able to show us around, gave us information leaflets and answered all of the questions which we had. They were very honest with us, and if they couldn’t do something which we asked about they told us. This really helped when it came to making a decision and ultimately is what led us to feeling that we had found the best place for Georgie.
Booking some taster sessions might really help you and your child to get a feel for whether you have find the right place. Most nurseries offer taster sessions, the number of these can vary, but they certainly give you a good idea of what to expect. For Georgie, he got one week of taster sessions. However because he was still struggling to adapt after this time, we got some extra sessions for free. The nursery were amazing with this, and did not charge us a penny for any of these sessions. Once we decided that Georgie was going to be settled and happy there, we signed contracts and completed all the paperwork.
Taster sessions are something which many nurseries do offer, and are definitely worth asking about during your visits. These might be called something different in every setting; settling sessions, trial sessions etc. but effectively they are the same thing. They aim to give you, and your child, a true idea of what to expect and work out whether the setting is going to be right for your family.
I think we got very lucky with the nursery which we found for Georgie. They have been amazing with meeting his needs, helping him to adapt and they are constantly communicating with us. Georgie has struggled with adapting to nursery life, but we are hopeful that this will get better. The more that the staff are getting to know Georgie, the more individualised they are able to make his care. I am 100% happy with the choice we have made.
The main thing for us is that Georgie seems happy. He gets all of his needs met and always comes home with a smile on his face. The nursery send us photos of what he gets up to and will always hand over to us at the end of the day. Georgie absolutely adores being able to spend the whole day outside if he wants to. And being able to free flow around the nursery works so well for him. I would definitely recommend a forest schools approved nursery to anyone, the opportunities are amazing!
Do you have any tips for finding a suitable nursery? Perhaps you can offer some advice to other parents who are trying to find a nursery for their child to attend? Or perhaps you are a childcare professional with some advice?Leave a comment below, or drop us an email using our contact form because we always love hearing from you! We will be sure to share any useful advice on the blog and our social media accounts as well.