Making the decision to commit to a childcare setting is life altering for a family. It will hopefully be one of the most supportive decisions for your child’s early development until they transition to their next stage of education. We have put together a list of questions that you may want to use when visiting and communicating with a potential setting for your family.
What are your security features/procedures?
We think it’s important to start at the most crucial element of daily care for your children. Once we know our children are safe, we can find some peace being away from them during their session. Children are much more likely to be comfortable and to thrive at nursery if they feel safe.
What experiences/qualifications do your staff have?
Our blog post about Highly qualified staff (https://littlehandsdaycare.co.uk/2020/12/29/highly-qualified-staff/) highlights why we think it’s important to have staff qualified to a minimum of level 3 and to also take very seriously their life and working experiences for the perfect combination of high quality practitioners. However, statutory government guidance also states that “In settings on the early years register, the manager must hold an approved level 3 qualification or above and at least half of all other staff must hold at least an approved level 2 qualification.” (Statutory Framework 3.28 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/974907/EYFS_framework_-_March_2021.pdf)
What is your behaviour management procedure?
Asking this should give you a clear understanding of how the setting promotes positive behaviour and how skilled they are at dealing with behaviour that is not favourable.
What is your favourite thing about the nursery?
Hopefully, staff will have a genuine passion for working with children and their setting. They should be able to share something they particularly enjoy exploring with the children such as a sensory room or a particular part of the routine they love to participate in such as Talk Boost sessions or story time.
What do children learn whilst they are with you?
Each setting will have their own ethos, values and curriculum which they support children to understand and explore throughout their time each week. Asking this question will shed light on what the setting values and how they promote this regularly to children.
How do you maintain your high standards?
If a setting is already graded ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, they will engage in regular quality improvement processes to retain this standard. Regardless of an Ofsted judgement, a setting can hopefully share with you what regular training they seek out or other opportunities to ensure that standards remain high for children, their families and the staff team. As an example, Little Hands has a ‘Continuous Recruitment Policy’ which you can read about here.
How much time do children spend in the indoor and outdoor spaces?
This question will help you to understand how children move throughout the available spaces within the nursery and how much time they aim for children to spend outside. This will also help you to prepare for the kinds of all weather clothing you might need to provide.
How do you communicate learning and development with families?
It’s great to hear how children are developing throughout their time within the nursery. This question should help you to determine whether the nursery uses a paper based or digital learning journey system and how often you will have access to this.
How will I be involved in my child’s learning?
Parents are a child’s first teacher and an early years setting can gain so much valuable knowledge from families. What children enjoy when they are at home, what family members or friends they see, any activities they are regularly involved in, any other languages or special celebrations that take place (the list is endless). This question will help you to understand the priority a setting places on parent partnerships and some of the strategies in place for this.
How are families included within the decision making of the nursery?
Having a ‘Home Nursery Association’ is not the only way for families’ voices to be heard within the nursery. This question should help you to determine ways in which the nursery seeks to involve families in the development of the business and whether this is a clear priority for them.
How are staff safely recruited to the setting?
Each setting should have clear procedures in place to ensure that staff are recruited safely, thoroughly and then supported to reach their full potential throughout their employment. It is helpful to know how a setting does this and that their processes are clear.