Navigating the Nursery Maze, by The Windsor Nursery


Advice shared by a nursery specialist for The Windsor Early Years Nursery, Abu Dhabi and The Tiffin Day Nursery, UK

The vast array of day nursery options can be somewhat intimidating and with nurseries popping up all the time, the market is become more and more saturated with options.

Finding a nursery for your child can be one of the biggest decisions you make as a parent as the Early Years is a critical stage of development. Researching your options is the best thing a parent can do.

To make a balanced and informed decision, make a point of visiting a few nurseries with your baby or young child. Nurseries that have been around a few years are a good option as they will have survived the ‘boom’ and ‘bust’ periods of the nursery industry.

If you are looking for a British Curriculum nursery, assess whether they have any links to UK nursery organisations. This will provide you with some confidence that if you are looking to return to your home country, your child won’t be left behind following outdated nursery teaching practices. Nurseries that have strong links with the UK will offer stronger care, math and literacy programmes, closely linked to those offered in International School Programmes.

It is always a good idea to have some thoughts and preferences of what you want from a nursery – Is it socialization, education, nurturing care? Any good nursery will offer all of these, but a special nursery will offer more.

Having visited many nurseries over my time, as a mother, and researched nurseries as a living, my first advice is do your own research. Friend recommendations are great but remember every child is different, every nursery is different and every parent is different. Parents have different expectations and all our personal wants and needs are different. Doing what is right for your child is what is important.

So how do you navigate the maze of nurseries…

Do your research: 

  • Social media is now a leading medium in the UAE and it is a great way to gather insight into nurseries and whether they are actively communicating to the parent audience or hiding behind closed doors. Have a look at the nurseries – Facebook, Instagram and Website are a good starting point.
  • Check the nursery website and see if you can find testimonials – This is always a good place to get real feedback.
  • Does the photo gallery and the social media posts look like the children are experiencing a variety of opportunities and are they having fun?
  • Decide what is most important to you before you start searching.
  • Value for money – This is a very important part of your research. Do you want ‘All Year Round Childcare’ as a working parent or ‘Term Time Care’ to fit with siblings or ‘Term Time Plus’ a new offering, where you have more care weeks that help reduce the long school holidays but provide additional care value for your child?
  • How many hours and days of care are you looking for? 5, 3 or 2 days? As a working parent, are you looking for a full day or longer core hours?
  • What is the hourly charge for the service you are getting? All nurseries offer different services – compare the hourly charge against the offering.
  • Be ready with your list of immediate questions and make notes.

Start making those calls:

A visit is always much better than just a phone call. Calling is a great way to get basic information but if a nursery asks you to come and make a tour, they want to show you the value of their nursery. You can meet the educators and team, where you can better experience the nursery. It is important to meet the people who will be caring for your child/children.

Be ready to give your contact details and email address, your child’s first name, age and date of birth.

As a minimum consider asking …

  • What are the nursery’s hours?
  • What sort of curriculum do they offer?
  • How long has the nursery been operating?
  • What are the tuition rates? You may not get these on the phone as nurseries want you to visit – this is a good thing – don’t make a decision based on a website and a phone call, you may regret it.
  • What session times are available?
  • Are all the staff qualified in nursery care?
  • Do you have strict pick up and drop off times?
  • Which holidays do you close for and for how long?
  • Can you email more detailed information on the nursery?
  • Can I bring my child with me for the tour?
  • Who will conduct the tour?
  • If you or your partner work in the corporate environment, ask if the nursery offers corporate discounts.
  • What schools do the children get accepted into and do you help parents through the school selection process?

Nursery Tours:

Give your tour guide some information about your child so that they can provide you relevant information during your tour.

 

Things to look for:

  • Are toys and activities age-appropriate?
  • Is there a comfortable, childproofed indoor play area where babies can safely explore and develop physical skills?
  • Is there space for the children to enjoy – An over resourced nursery is not always a good sign.
  • Is there proper shading on the outdoor areas?
  • Do the electrical outlets have plug covers?
  • Is there a safe, enclosed outside play area that encourages large-motor skills?
  • Do the staff and children seem happy and engaged?
  • Do staff cuddle babies and comfort children?
  • Do the staff talk directly to the children at eye level?
  • Is the staff’s tone friendly and caring?
  • Are crying children responded to with appropriate attention?
  • Is the nursery clean and pleasant?
  • Are appropriate safety measures (fire extinguisher, first aid kit, fences, etc.) in place?
  • During the hours you and your child are apart, will you feel at ease knowing your child is in this setting?

 

Happy Nursery Navigating! 

For more information on The Windsor Early Years Nursery visit http://www.windsor-nursery.com/



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