Nurseries provide care and early years education for babies and children from birth to 5 years, although some don't take children under the age of 2 years. They are usually open from 8am to 6pm most of the year. You can use nurseries for full or part time childcare.
Nurseries give children the opportunity to take part in group activities and the opportunity to learn through play. You should expect to see sand and water play, construction toys, music and movement and other activities appropriate to your child's age. Children are usually placed in small groups with a key worker, (the worker responsible for that group of children) which lets them establish relationships with other children and staff members. Throughout the day children tend to follow a routine of play, meals, rest, etc. as similar to a home environment as possible.
A list of all childcare options, including nurseries, childminders and out of school care can be found in our childcare directory www.1bigdatabase.org.uk
Nurseries have to be registered with OfSTED and are subject to regular inspections. If they are registered to accept EYE they will also have to undergo an OfSTED nursery inspection to prove that they are working towards the DfES Early Learning Goals. They will also plan their activities in line with the Foundation Stage Curriculum Guidance.
Staffing and Qualifications
All nurseries in Bath and North East Somerset have to ensure that at least 50% of their staff are qualified up to an NVQ2 or NVQ3 in childcare or have an equivalent qualification. Many nurseries also have regular input from a qualified Early Years teacher, while others may link to teachers provided by the LEA. It is worth checking the qualifications staff have when you visit the setting.
Cost and Allocation of Places
All providers charge a fee, but these vary. Most nurseries have waiting lists and will work on a first come first served basis.
Issues to Consider
- Start looking for a nursery well in advance
- Take your child with you when visiting to see how they get on
- Make a second visit to the ones you like
- Are the children relaxed and content?
- Be prepared to spend time settling your child in
- Speak to other families using the nursery
- Be clear about the type of care you want
If you are looking for a nursery please use the childcare search on www.1bigdatabase.org.uk