Use our helpful guide to ensure you get the answers you need when choosing a nursery. Explore our top questions to ask a nursery before you visit.
So, the time has finally come for your little one to take their first steps on their education journey! Undoubtedly, choosing a nursery for your child is a big decision for your family, and we understand that handing responsibility over to someone else can be an emotional time.
At Busy Bees, we have more than 40 years of experience in settling children into nursery and we’re here to support you on your journey.
We catch up with Jess Sandall, our Area Director and mum of two, to find out her top five questions to ask a nursery during your first visit.
Many children find that nursery is a great blend of routine and freedom. The sociable meals and various activities we organise give the children structure, while they engage and delight in the tasks at hand.
All children’s interests are taken into consideration, and we use our Unleashing Potential (UP) programme to inspire and support all current learning stages. Play and social activities are carefully merged into indoor and outdoor fun. This sets the foundations for our main priority, fostering a love of learning for your child and ensuring they receive the best start in life.
In the morning your child will be greeted by staff and their friends. We have breakfast early in the day, with activities laid out and ready to engage and inspire from the very beginning of the day all the way to the end. Children will then take part in a variety of activities, and importantly have valuable social time with their friends and continue to develop their character and individuality. You can find out more about what a typical day at nursery looks like here.
The bond between a key worker and a child is very special. The nursery key worker is a source of support, love, and guidance for your child during their day at nursery.
Your child’s key worker will not only undertake key care responsibilities such as changing nappies, but they will also get to know your child well enough to skilfully plan fun learning activities for them that support their individual learning and developmental needs. These activities will also be influenced heavily by your child’s life outside of the nursery, so we always encourage parents to share updates on what’s been going on at home. Knowing what your child enjoys doing outside of the nursery ensures your child’s nursery key worker can create a range of fun and enjoyable activities.
Parents are encouraged to share messages and special dates with their child’s nursery key worker to ensure a personal bond is created, meaning they can combine and support learning across all aspects of their life. Often you will find that children make these incredible bonds with all staff in the room, and as parents, you will also be supported by the senior staff and the nursery manager who are always happy to take time out to talk with you.
We want to make sure your child has a supported and seamless transition into nursery life. Our nursery settling-in sessions are bespoke to your child’s needs, and all of our nurseries offer and encourage these settling-in sessions. The sessions are free of charge and help to build some understanding and familiarity with your child, and so that they can get to know us too!
We usually offer three short nursery settling-in sessions, however, leaving your child at nursery for the first time can feel like a big and sometimes daunting step for both you and your child. For this reason, we will always take into consideration any adjustments we need to make so that the sessions are fun and positive.
It’s very useful to try and plan your child’s nursery settling-in sessions close together (seven-day breaks can be a long time when you are under four!). This is so that your child can build an understanding of the nursery and become familiar with their new surroundings and the routine they will become a part of.
All our nursery food menus are accredited by the NHS and are devised with a healthy start in life in mind. Does your child have specific dietary requirements or allergies? It’s not a problem! We can cater to a variety of different allergies and dietary requirements. Simply have a chat with your nursery manager if you would like to know more about individual needs, and we can devise safe and delicious alternatives for your child.
We can amend our nursery food menus to reflect a specific nursery community if required, ensuring that the same health benefits are added to our meals.
Mealtimes at nursery are a fun and enjoyable occasion, giving children the chance to devour a range of delicious and nutritious foods which have their growth and overall development in mind. Want to learn more about how we encourage healthy eating within our nursery? Check out our ‘Eating Well’ page.
Fortunately for parents, you never have to miss a key milestone or special moment. At Busy Bees, we have an amazing app called ParentZone where our nursery key workers can add regular photos and updates for parents to see what their child has been getting up to during their day at nursery.
Updates can include what they have eaten, nap times and nappy changes. Your child’s nursery key worker will also update the app with weekly photos so you can see your child having a fantastic time at nursery!
We will update you on your child’s learning and development journey with regular checkpoint assessments which aim to support and celebrate them as they reach their developmental milestones and ensure all the support and nurturing they need is in place. As parents, we also encourage you to add photos of your children outside of nursery onto the app so we can share these pictures and use them to influence our play at nursery!
We hope that our tips will help you in your decision when choosing a nursery for your child when the time comes. It’s important that you are comfortable and happy with the nursery you have chosen for your child, so it can be beneficial to book a visit to view a few in your local area.
Busy Bees has over 390 nurseries across the UK and Ireland, making choosing a nursery for your child easier than ever. To find your local nursery and arrange a visit, click here.