NDNA's top tips for choosing a nursery

To support you and your child, it is critical that both of you are happy and confident with your choice of nursery.

Get an insight into the questions you need to ask, what you should be looking for in a nursery and what legal requirements a nursery has to follow with our top ten tips:

Mother dropping baby at nursery
  • Look at all local options and see what will work best for you – a nursery close to your home or your workplace? A large or a small setting?

  • Study a nursery’s website, social media presence and online forums see what people are saying about it.

  • A sign of a good nursery is one that invests in staff training and employs staff who have qualifications above the minimum requirements.

  • Seek out Ofsted inspection reports online via a search engine or ask the nursery to show it to you.

  • Find out if the nursery has achieved any quality standards or awards such as Millie's Mark, NDNA's eQuality Counts, Champions programmes or Investors In People. 

  • Ask the same questions to all the nurseries you visit to help you compare them. Good nurseries will expect you to ask lots of questions. Are the staff welcoming, friendly and professional? Is everything clean and safe? Think also about parking arrangements and security.

  • Find out who would be your child’s main carer and talk to them. Do the children look happy and settled? Are they free to choose what to do and what to play with? Is there a good outdoor area which children can access freely? Is there a good mix of resources so all children can play with what they want to? 

  • Ask how the nursery applies the Government’s Early Years Foundation Stage framework and how they communicate with parents – for example, via an electronic diary, and ideally an open door policy.

  • Study the menus and check how they’ll cater for your child if they have any allergy or dietary requirements. Is everything cooked from fresh ingredients? What is their food hygiene rating?

  • Finally, clarify what the fees cover, holiday arrangements and whether childcare credits are accepted or if funded hours are available. Always read the terms and conditions.

Download NDNA's FREE 'Choosing the right nursery for your child' factsheet here. View NDNA's full range of FREE downloadable parents resources here and Dettol's parents hygiene resources here