When you are choosing the best Nursery for your child there are a number of steps to be taken to ensure that you, your child and the nursery are the best fit. It will take some time, but at the end of the day, it is important that everyone is happy and your child is in a safe, in a caring, positive learning environment.
This post was written by Siog Moore, a registered nurse, neonatal specialist, and the owner of Little Land Nursery.
The is one basic, overriding rule when you do your inspections: Ask as many questions as possible.
Where to start? WhichSchoolAdvisor.com can give you the lowdown on all the nurseries in Dubai, addresses, management, population etc... although as the site admits, this is still work in progress.
I would recommend that you visit at least four nurseries before you make your final decision.
Location, is it important? Can’t I just choose the nursery around the corner?
Answer; sometimes you can, but if you are English speaking and the nursery is French speaking, then it may not suit your needs. If you are working all day and the nursery closes at 12pm, it may not be suitable. It is generally good to start your search near your home, and then work your way towards your most frequent destination in the day, work, shops, gym - this will make it easy for drop off and pick up.
So you found a nursery!
- Is the building suitable?
- Is there space for car parking?
- Is it single or double story building? If it’s double, are the steps a suitable size for small children?
- Is there a playground?
- Is it well equipped and is the equipment in good condition? Old is fine, broken is not :-(
- What are the nursery timings? Are they suitable for you? In Dubai, many nurseries offer afternoon service but the morning staff goes home. It is important to know how the afternoons are managed. Activities, food, sleep, etc...?
Let’s have a look at the classrooms.
- What size are they? How many children are in the room every day?
- How many teachers and assistants? Are they all qualified?
- Are the classes well equipped?
- Is everything brand new and shiny?
- Or better still, does it all look well used and enjoyed :-)?
- Are the rooms clean?
- Are the children’s nappies, etc stored hygienically?
- Does the nursery have clear policies on behaviour, safeguarding and hygiene?
- What is the discipline policy of the nursery? Positive redirection and time out are acceptable.
And now for me, the most important questions are about the people...
- Are the teachers early years qualified- whether EYFS, Montessori, Reggio Emilia or other? The answer should be yes; a person with a master’s degree in geography or any other subject is not qualified to teach early years and if working in the nursery, should be employed as an assistant.
- What is the staff turnover like? A high turnover might cause some concern, while a small steady turnover can be healthy.
- Are nannies employed in the nursery?
- What is their role?
- Are the children allowed to watch television/videos? What is the role of the video?
- How do I 'feel' in this nursery? Does it feel “right?”
- Will my child's needs be met? Will she be happy here?
- Will my child be attended to with positive loving care; when he/she is learning something new; when she is toilet training; when she has a fever or doesn't feel like eating?
- Will I feel that I know how my child is spending her day?
- Can I visit the nursery whenever I feel like it?
- Can I arrange to speak to the teachers any time I have a concern?
- Are the other parents happy with the nursery?
- Are the children happy in the nursery? Are they busy?
- Is the children's work planned in advance?
- Is their work recorded and progress monitored?
- Will my child be challenged in this environment?
At the end of your search, you should feel confident, that your child will have the best start to their learning journey in a warm, caring and safe environment.
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Siog Moore owns Little Land Nursery. She trained as a Registered Nurse (RGN) in Ireland and later became a neonatal specialist. It was Siog’s keen interest in positive child psychology, coupled with her own children’s experiences of preschool that prompted her to set up Little Land in 1994.