How to choose a nursery
Information about Sandhills nurseries
Choosing someone to care for your child is an important, and sometimes difficult, decision. Here at Sandhills, we want to help you make an informed choice. In this section, you will find details of our range of discounts and promotions, as well as some frequently asked questions.
Below are some typical questions that will help you find out the important things about any prospective nursery. Why not print it off and take it with you when you visit?
About the nursery or pre-school
- What are the opening times? What age range do they take? Do they offer part-time places?
- Are fire alarms and fire extinguishers provided. Do both staff and children understand the fire drill?
- Has your child's security been properly considered - is access to the facility properly controlled?
- Will the cleaning standards in rooms, kitchens and toilet facilities protect your child's health?
- What are the parking facilities, are they on the street or on-site?
About the nursery staff
- Who is in charge? What experience in childcare and what qualifications does that person have?
- Who will be personally responsible for your child's progress, and how qualified is that person?
- What is the ratio of staff to children, and how many of the staff are qualified? More than half the staff must hold a childcare qualification equivalent to NVQ3 (NNEB, BTEC).
- Will more than one adult supervise your child's group? What will happen in the case of an illness or emergency?
- How many staff have been with the nursery for over a year? The stability of the staff is important to the continuity of the care provided.
- How many of the staff are qualified in first aid?
The nursery care provided
- What are the procedures for settling in new children?
- What type of food is provided? What is the policy on biscuits and sweets? How do they cope with food allergies or special dietary needs?
- Do the displays and equipment provide a challenging and stimulating environment for your child?
- Will there be a planned progression of activities and skills throughout the year, or primarily just play?
- What are the policies on discipline? How do you feel about them?
- Have the children been taught to behave towards others in a thoughtful and considerate way?
Your child's nursery needs
- Are parents encouraged to visit the nursery and remain involved with their children's development?
- How are you kept informed of your child's progress, activities and development?
Observations to make when you visit the nursery
- Do the children look happy and relaxed? Are they interested in what they are doing?
- Are the staff focused on the needs of the children or are they chatting to each other?
- Is the building clean and pleasant? Are the toys clean and fairly new or worn out and dirty?
- Do the children use the outdoor facilities regularly, and are there open-air play activities?
To arrange a visit to your nearest Sandhills Day Nursery, just call the manager or request a visit online. Find contact details here.
How do I prepare my child for school?
We expose children to a wide variety of experiences and activities which encourage them to make decisions and become independent learners. We expose them to concepts such as big and small, shapes, full and empty etc. as well as numbers. All of this they learn through playing with sand, water, and construction materials, using paint, glue and scissors and with outdoor activities.
We encourage children to read by looking at books, listening and telling stories, identifying words and signs in the environment, discussing pictures and looking and copying patterns. These are just some of the ways we expose children to reading.
By making marks on paper and in sand with paint etc., we encourage participation in experiences that develop the big and small muscles that will help them write. Children have name cards to learn to identify their name and to copy onto their 'work'. The key person's role is to identify their learning and development needs and to plan activities and experiences that will assist them starting school.