A Guide to Private Day Nurseries
What are private day nurseries?
These nurseries offer both full and part time care for children from 0-5 years. Most nurseries are open all year round except for public holidays.
Opening and closing times may vary, but are in the main set to accommodate the needs of both working and non-working parents. Numbers of children attending each nursery will vary, however there should always be an appropriate number of adults to children. Some nurseries will offer 2½ hour early education sessions for 3 and 4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds by request.
How do I know my child will be safe and secure?
First of all, you know your child best. Look for a nursery you feel will be suitable for your child.
Registration and inspection of nurseries is carried out by the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED). This means checks are carried out to make sure the staff are suitable to look after children. At least half of the staff in the nursery must be trained to work with children. If the day nursery is providing early education, it will also be registered with the local authority and the Nursery Education Grant can be claimed towards the cost of the education. A few nurseries are not registered to provide early education as they offer 'wrap around' care to the school nursery on site which delivers free early education sessions.
A check on nursery premises is carried out to make sure the building is safe and suitable for children. After the nursery is registered, regular inspections are carried out to make sure the nursery is continuing to provide a safe and suitable service. You can ask to see the registration and inspection certificate.
There must be a set number of staff to work with the children. You should find one member of staff for every eight children aged 3 to 5, one member of staff for every four children aged 2 to 3 and one member of staff for every three children aged under 2.
What will my child do at nursery?
Your child will be able to participate in planned learning and play activities, which will enhance their social and educational development. Trained staff provide a stimulating environment where children will feel safe and secure. A range of activities is usually offered such as art, crafts, sand and water play, music, book reading and stories. Your child will be encouraged to socialise with other children and develop friendships along the way.
Key points to consider
Visit the nursery with your child
Are you made welcome?
Are the children calm, safe and happy?
Are staff listening to children and answering them carefully?
Are staff friendly and proud of their work?
Are staff joining in with what the children are doing?
Are there plenty of clean toys and equipment for the children to use?
Are the play activities child led?
Do the activities take into account the children’s ages, cultural background and any special needs?
Are the premises clean, well kept, secure and safe for children?
Are there lots of fun activities planned to help children learn and play?
Are you provided with any information about services and policies, eg. fire drills, medical emergencies?
Do parents have plenty of chances to say what they want for their children?