Your Guide to Choosing the Perfect Day Nursery: What to Look For and How to Decide

8 Apr 2024

Your Guide to Choosing the Perfect Day Nursery: What to Look For and How to Decide

Welcome to Grandir UK’s comprehensive guide to navigating the world of day nurseries. As a parent, selecting the right day nursery for your child can feel like a daunting task. With so many options available, it’s crucial to know what to look for to ensure your baby or toddler receives the best care. In this blog, we’ll explore the essential factors to consider when choosing a day nursery, helping you make an informed decision that aligns with your child’s needs and your family’s preferences.


What is a day nursery?

A day nursery provides a safe and structured environment for children under five, where they can play, learn skills, be part of a group and make friends while their parents work or study.

What are the benefits of a day nursery?

Education is key for a child’s development, and there is no stage as integral to development as the early years foundation stage (EYFS). It sets the standards for school and provides a strong base of education, learning, and development for your child.

Here are some reasons why nursery is so important:

  • Preparing your child for primary school
  • Developing important social skills
  • Learning structure and routine
  • Building your child’s immune system
  • Allowing you time for yourself
  • Nurseries provide a safe, stimulating, flexible childcare options, qualified staff and an inclusive environment

What you need to consider:

Providing quality childcare is important. Choosing a day nursery is one of the biggest decisions a parent can make. It is the first step in your child’s education. As a first time mother or father, where do you even begin? These are the stepping stones to your child’s future and you want to make their early years the happiest years where your children will learn, grow and thrive.

Leaving your most precious possession in someone else’s hands is never easy, it is a big commitment to all involved. Read our list of top things to consider when choosing a nursery for your ‘pride and joy’.

Follow our simple guide on how to choose the perfect day nursery for your child.

1. Education and learning

High quality childcare is one of the main goals when sending your children to school. The main priority is giving your child the very best start to their education. The benefits of learning through play is vital to your child’s growth. Young children enjoy learning about the world through play, which can be structured or free play. Finding out what programmes a nursery offers will help you understand if this is what you want for your child. Your son or daughter may have already shown an interest in certain activities, such as outdoor play, so a forest school might be a high priority for you. Research the options available and narrow the nurseries down by choosing the ones that would suit your child and your interests the most.

2. Opening hours

What does your family require from a nursery? Full day or a half day nursery, year round or term time only, open Monday to Friday or only selected days of the week. The availability and opening hours differs from each family and every nursery has different availability, so work out what is going to suit your family best and make sure the nurseries you are interested in offer these options.

3. Childcare costs and funding

Childcare establishments are a business and childcare is very expensive. Ask the nurseries you are interested in for their fees and payment schedules. Make sure you understand what is included in the pricing structure. Find out what funding the school has access to, and if your child qualifies for funding or any government funded hours. A good nursery will have this information on hand and will be more than willing to assist you with the process, or they will point you in the right direction.

4. Location and convenience

The nursery needs to suit your child but it also needs to be convenient to you and your lifestyle. Finding a nursery that is in close proximity to where you live or where you work would be the most obvious. It is also helpful if your child goes to school near your home as you will meet families in your area and making new friends for you and your child is an important part of the nursery journey.

5. Health and nutrition


Nutrition is an important part of your child’s day and more importantly their life as a whole. Eating a healthy and well balanced diet including fresh fruit and veg is imperative for nutrition, behaviour, concentration and growth. Children need regular meals and snacks to give them the energy and nutrients to grow and stay healthy. Speak to the nurseries and ask to view their menus and find out what they offer the children from a dietary perspective and if they cater for any dietary requirements or allergies your child may have.

6. Ofsted rating

In the UK, nurseries are registered with Ofsted, (The office for standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills). They are responsible for inspecting a range of educational services which also includes nurseries. Ofsted plays an important role in making sure education is the best it can be as well as making sure children are safe in school. It ensures that children can access high-quality education and care services that meet nationally recognised standards. It is always a good idea to research any nurseries that are of interest to you and check their Ofsted results. Ofsted results give a good indication of the schools level of education, the environment and the wellbeing of the children.

7. Safety and security

Safety and security at nursery school is so important. Knowing that your children are in safe hands should be top priority. Every nursery should have a plan with the following in place:

  • First aid and basic health and safety training to all teams
  • Ensuring there are always qualified first aiders on site
  • Carrying out risk assessment and reporting all injuries
  • Supplying all teams with the appropriate clothing and equipment
  • Ensuring health and safety information is available to all team members, families, and visitors

Ensure you ask all the necessary questions to make sure your chosen nursery have all the required training and qualifications in place.

8. Nursery environment


The nursery space should be clean, calm and interactive with a good choice or toys and equipment. A few things to consider:

  • What resources does the nursery offer?
  • Is there a good selection of toys, books and equipment?
  • Are the toys, books and equipment clean and well maintained?
  • What rooms do they have for each age group?
  • Are there separate rooms for babies and toddlers?
  • Are there separate outdoor areas for each age group?
  • Do they have large grounds where the children can explore or do they plan outings throughout the year?
  • Are the grounds safe and secure?
  • Do they have a quiet room and a calming area?

The list is endless so do some research and make your own list of what is important for you.

9. Nursery staff

Find out about qualifications and experience. Trained and experienced early childhood educators can provide a nurturing and stimulating environment for your little one’s growth. Ask if the staff receives ongoing professional development to stay updated with the latest teaching techniques and child development practices. This is all crucial to your child’s learning, but above the academics, you are looking for staff who are dedicated, enthusiastic, passionate and patient – staff who care!

10. Parental involvement and communication

Open communication and parental involvement plays an important role. Find out how the school communicates with parents. Ask what support they offer to parents. What communication they offer and what feedback they give parents at the end of each day, week, month or term. Ask them if parents are included in fun days such as Mothers day, Fathers day, and other events. It will be a huge advantage to you and your child if you are able to participate in activities throughout the year.

11. Research and reviews and testimonials

Research the nurseries you are interested in and the childcare they provide. Read parents reviews, website reviews and any reviews on a leading nursery review website. Compare each nursery and read what parents are saying. Word of mouth from parents who are currently attending the school is the best way to find out about their experiences and if they have had a positive experience. Research as much as you can. As a parent your gut instinct counts so after you have done all the research the next step would be to book a visit.

12. Book a visit and evaluate

Once you have narrowed down your search, the very best way to make sure you are choosing the best start to your son or your daughters future is by booking a visit. Take a tour, meet the staff in the flesh, see what they offer, see how they interact with the children, see how the staff treat each other. Be prepared by having a list of questions to ask based on all the above points. Join us at one of our Open Days taking place on Saturday 20 April.

13. Choose your perfect nursery

We hope you enjoyed our guidelines we created especially for you. Once you have completed the list above you should be well on your way to booking a space for your little one. We hope your child will thrive in their new nursery environment and enjoy watching them grow, learn and excel.

Visit an Open Day taking place near you!

With fun Open Days taking place at nearly every one of our the Grandir UK nurseries and pre-schools you are sure to find the setting that will suit you down to the ground and all the information you need to make an informed decision about the right nursery for you.

Find the Open Day taking place nearest to you and book your place, here!



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