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Mum

I need help looking at day care. What do you look out for? Nursery or childminder? I have no clue where to start, or about fees, etc.!

It’s best to look at the ratings for nurseries in your local area. Look at the children’s centre and see if they have a nursery attached and also go have a look at the nursery.

I used Nextdoor to ask the people in the local area about nurseries that they recommended as well.

Mum
Mum of 1

One consideration is whether you want your child to change settings at preschool age.

Most childminders take children right up to school age, I think, but you may decide you want to prepare them for school by sending them to preschool which means uprooting them.

Some nurseries on the other hand have a preschool “classroom” so your child can stay there right through.

Some kids stay at the childminder's part time and go to a preschool or nursery preschool part time.

But I wouldn’t worry too much about that now if your child is young as it’s too much to think about, but it’s just a consideration.

I am Montessori trained and have experience in nursery and schools. My children went to nursery and a childminder when they were younger.

I can give you some things to think about. You will get a feel about a place or a person, so go with your instincts.

Start looking at different nurseries in your area and have a chat to the childminders too.

A few things to think about...

- What is the teacher child ratio?

- Do they have free flow outdoors or access to the outdoor area? How often do they play outside?

- Will they follow your babies routine for naps?

- Do they have a sleep room/cots/floor beds?

- Ask to see their policies.

- Ask about nappies/food/lunches etc. - what do you need to provide daily?

- What is their settling procedure? This has changed in many nurseries due to Covid. You may be allowed into settings now. This is something you can talk about. They often do a couple of really short sessions, just to get baby/child familiar with the new environment and adults. Then slowly increase times, this is different for every individual child and nursery.

All nurseries should have a key worker scheme, where one member of staff is responsible for meeting your child’s individual needs. Sometimes they are given one on arrival, or they see which member of staff the children develops a bond with. Each key person will be responsible for a group of children.

Pregnant mum of 3