In these pages is advice and help about childcare facilities. Use the links on the left to find out more.
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|What to look for when you visit a nursery or preschool
Asking the right questions is important, but this needs to be combined with knowing what to look for. Read on for Preschool directory's top tips for making the most of your visit.
Watch the staff talking to children - Do they get down to their level, do they speak with kindness and attention and most importantly do they listen to the child ?
Listen - is there a busy noise of children chattering and playing well together, or is it the sound of children competing for attention and the demands of voices of children struggling to be heard.
Are the children focused on the activities, or running around wildly?
Is there a good range of activities, are they well presented and being well used by the children.
Look about, are most of the staff actually sitting with and playing alongside the children, or are most of them tidying up, cleaning or putting up displays.
Are there any staff that you can see that are providing individual attention to a child?
How do the staff appear? Smiling, interesting motivated staff respond well to children's needs and will stand the pace.
Look at the staff and listen to what is going on, do you think that the staff can work with the children without losing patience, shaming a child or frequently displaying anger?
Do the staff seem to be enjoying the children?
Watch out for instances of children needing help to behave, see how it is handled.
Look at the noticeboard - is it up to date and full of information for parents
Will you be welcome - are there any other parents at the nursery during your visit.
Look for levels of cleanliness and the way children's physical needs are being met. Look at the kitchen and bathrooms.
Check the outdoor play area - is it well maintained and imaginatively used.
Sit down with the children to an activity. If you are immediately mobbed by children, then ask yourself how involved they where in what they were doing previously and also when did another adult last sit to play with the children.
Look at the staff and ask yourself if you are confident that these people will enjoy, nurture and make your child happy.
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