How to choose a nursery

By Rachel Barsby-Robinson, owner of Bilingual Nursery, Ashby-de-la-Zouch

After being asked by one of the ladies in the Aqua Natal class for some advice about nurseries, Jo suggested writing a blog post as the information may be useful for others.

At the Aqua Natal class I was actually asked, “how soon should I be looking for a nursery?”, this was asked by one of my fellow pregnant ladies in the class. My reply to that is, as soon as possible! At our nursery we always ask for and need an estimated start date, so as soon as you know approximately when you are going back to work my advice would be to start the nursery research. You may live somewhere with lots of nurseries in the vicinity and availability may be higher, but it would be a shame to find the ‘perfect’ nursery for you, to discover they have no space available…! It is becoming more and more often that we have pregnant mum’s coming for a viewing and registering their unborn child to start nursery, even if it is for when the child will be aged 1 or older. We currently have bookings as far forward as September 2020 which is 18 months away!

As the owner and manager of the Bilingual Day Nursery in Ashby, I have tried to put together a list of questions to ask yourself before choosing a nursery, and some questions to ask & things to look for when you are visiting one.

Every nursery is different, has different staff, and different ways of running. It is important to establish what ‘kind’ of nursery environment you are looking for, as these questions can often be answered on their website or their social media pages and can therefore potentially save you time of visiting somewhere which doesn’t match or correspond to your family values and ethos. They are all so different and there WILL be one out there that suits you, it may just take a little time and exploration to find it.


Questions to ask yourself (and child’s other parent)

  • Do we want our child to go to a really big nursery or something smaller?
  • Do we want them to be mixed with children of other ages?
  • What hours do we need them to attend nursery?
  • Do we want them to be focused on ‘play’ and learning through playing, or do we want a ‘school’ style environment?
  • If your child speaks another language, do you want or need someone at the nursery to speak that language to a good or fluent level?

Once you have established the answers to these questions it will help you to know what your values are and what is important to you and your family when you are looking at a nursery. There are no right or wrong answers, and no one size fits all either, but you will find that when you start to browse some nurseries will instantly click with your ideas and some will be the complete opposite.