Picking a nursery

Today is the day the bairn goes to nursery. We’ve been through the process of picking one, had the taster days and so far managed to get through his first day without ringing up to see how he’s doing (it is only 11.04am so that may we change…)

Anyway, here’s how we went about picking a nursery for the bairn (before I start, I should probably say I can’t take much credit for any of the work we did. C did pretty much all of this while she has been on maternity leave).

How did we pick a nursery?

What we (read C) did was to put together a list of the nurseries close by, picking out bits of information which were important for us and helped to work out what we did, and didn’t, want in a nursery. Here’s what we looked at:


This is probably a major thing for the vast majority of people but take a look at what it costs to send your kid to the nursery. We also took a look at extra stuff like; charges for early drop-offs/late pickups, any deposit there is for your kid’s place and term times.


It was pretty important for us to get something that would fit in with the working hours and routes we take on our commutes to and from work. We’ve been lucky that there were quite a few nurseries that do that. You might be a snob and pick a nursery based purely on the area it is in – but hey, that’s your choice.

Meals, milk and nappies

As well as keeping your little one safe while you go off to work, keeping them alive and maybe even teaching them stuff, it’s worth seeing what else is included in the cost of the nursery care. Do you need to provide milk, nappies or any other little extra bits?

Ofsted rating

Ofsted, for those who don’t know or aren’t based in the UK, are the people who regulate educational organisations here in the UK. This includes nurseries and after an inspection, the organisation is given a rating of either Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement or Inadequate. You can, if you want to, use the ratings to get an idea of the kind of care the nurseries on your list are providing. Use this link to search for ratings of the nurseries you’re looking at,

Reviews and word of mouth

Ofsted ratings are all good and well for giving you an indicator but getting the views of people who use the nurseries already or have done in the past, can help to give you a fuller picture. Colleagues, friends or parents from baby/toddler groups you go might have used a nursery your thinking about – obviously, don’t take any single person’s view as gospel but it might give you an idea of what the nurseries are like.

Taking A Tour

Next up we booked a tour for the nursery that was top of our list on paper. This was great because it gave us the chance to see the nursery working as a nursery. We had a tour given by the Nursery Manager (oooOOOoooOOOooo) and had everything from meal routines to the types of activities the kids do to staff numbers, all explained to us throughout.

It also gave us the opportunity to ask questions about values, attitudes and teaching styles used in the nursery. The one we’ve ended up picking is based on the forest schools in Scandinavia (Yup, you guessed it. I read the Guardian) and they approach learning in a way that fits in with our views. That experience of seeing it first-hand really put us at ease and helped us feel comfortable about where we were sending the bairn.

Your stories

So that’s how we’ve gone about picking a nursery for the bairn – it would be great to hear your experiences of finding one (and getting used to having your little one in a nursery). Feel free to drop a comment below or you can find me on social media (Twitter or Instagram).

Thanks for reading. Mark.

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