When it comes to choosing a nursery for your child, instinct plays a big part. However, while going with your gut is great, it’s also vital that you do your own research so that you’re able to make an informed choice and feel comfortable that your child is in the right place. One of the most important ways to do this is by asking the right questions during your nursery tour. Of course, knowing what to ask is half the battle, so to give you a nudge in the right direction we sat down with Chantal Ariens, Director of Growth at Blossom Children’s Nurseries. As the UAE’s first Cache qualified Nursery group, Blossom is at the forefront of nursery education and has an impressive reputation to match. Here Chantal talks us through the key questions to ask before choosing a nursery.
Questions to ask before choosing a nursery: Security
How are the gates at the nursery monitored?
Is there a guard?
Is there CCTV throughout the nursery?
How are visitors registered when visiting the nursery? For example, are visitors required to sign in a book and are copies of their Emirates ID taken?
Is there a finger-print system for staff?
Questions to ask before choosing a nursery: Safety
Do all members of staff have first aid training?
Do all members of staff know what to do in case of an emergency evacuation?
Have the staff been trained in safeguarding, and are they aware of the correct polices and procedures in terms of child protection?
Where are the toys sourced from and do the toys meet European safety requirements (look for the CE mark)?
Questions to ask before choosing a nursery: Curriculum
What is the curriculum offered at the nursery?
How is the lesson planning done?
Are parents able to view lesson plans?
Are all toys age appropriate and dictated by the curriculum?
How are the toys used to enhance the learning experience?
Questions to ask before choosing a nursery: Feedback
Do parents regularly receive feedback and how is it presented? For example, is there a daily diary?
If so, what information is included in a daily diary? For example, does it detail how much your child has slept, how many nappy changes they have had and how their mood has been?
Is the teacher available to give one-on-one feedback if necessary?
Questions to ask before choosing a nursery: Support for parents
Are there any activities parents can get involved with at the nursery, such as coffee mornings or storytelling sessions with the children?
Is there an open-door policy, where parents can come and visit their children during the day if they wish?
Are parents regularly asked for their feedback in order to help the nursery improve?
Questions to ask before choosing a nursery: Is the nursery inclusive
Does the nursery welcome children with extra needs?
If you have a child with extra needs, is that nursery going to be suitable for them?
Are children from different learning styles, such as visual, auditory or kinaesthetic, catered for?
Are shadow teachers available for children with extra needs?
Questions to ask before choosing a nursery: Facilities and classrooms
Where do the children spend most of their time when at the nursery? For example, are they in the classroom all day or do they go outside?
Are there common areas where the children can play?
Does the nursery have energy-releasing areas, such as a pool, splash pad or gym?
Does the nursery encourage learning through reading? If so, how many books do the children read, or have read to them, a day?
What sort of books are read at the nursery?
Questions to ask before choosing a nursery: Extra curricular activities
Does the nursery offer extracurricular activities?
If extracurricular activities are available, how much do they cost?
Are the extracurricular activities based on site or are the children taken to another location?
Questions to ask before choosing a nursery: Staff
What are the credentials of the teaching staff?
How many of the staff are fully-qualified in childcare?
Does the nursery do background checks before hiring staff?
Are all staff required to show up-to-date references from previous employers?
Does the nursery offer internal training to staff?
What is the staff turnover?
Does the nursery have specialist staff – such as music and language teachers?
Are the staff in the office qualified to teach if required?
Questions to ask before choosing a nursery: Hygiene
How often are the bathrooms cleaned on a daily basis? (Bathrooms should be cleaned a minimum of three times a day with a thorough clean at the end of the day.)
Which products are used when cleaning the nursery? (Ask to see the Data Sheet so that you can view the list of chemicals in the cleaning products used.)
Questions to ask before choosing a nursery: Food
Does the nursery provide food?
Is the food freshly cooked every day?
How many meals and snacks are offered on a daily basis?
Is the menu designed to be nutrient-rich, both for the body and the brain?
If so, ask for examples of the kind of dishes on offer and why these particular foods were chosen.
Questions to ask before choosing a nursery: Ask yourself…
Are the children smiling?
Do they seem happy?
Do the staff seem happy?
Is there a good atmosphere?
Do you feel at ease talking to the staff?
For more details visit Blossom Children’s Nursery or call 055 NURSERY.
Chantal Ariens is the Director of Growth at Blossom Children’s Nursery and Centre Director of Blossom Burj. She has been with Blossom for almost six years and knows her centre inside out. To get in touch, email her at email@example.com.