What is a day nursery?
- Day nurseries take children from 0 to 5 years old. Some can also take older children after school and in the school holidays.
- They are usually open between 8am and 6pm (and sometimes even more flexibly) for most of the year, meaning parents can take a place when they need it if the nursery has spaces.
- They must be registered and inspected regularly by Ofsted.
- All inspection reports are available to parents on the Ofsted website.
How much do day nurseries charge?
How do I find a nursery?
You can look for any type of childcare provider by using our simple Childcare Finder. You can also contact our Families Information Service using the details on the right-hand side of this page.
Some points to consider:
- Visit the nursery with your child.
- Are you and your child welcomed?
- Is the environment bright and inviting?
- Do the premises and resources appear clean, well kept and safe?
- Are the children happy, confident and having fun?
- Is there plenty of room to move around, both inside and outside?
- Do the toys, books, equipment, activities, displays and staff show a positive attitude to children of both sexes and of all races, religions, cultures, and disabilities?
- A good nursery will offer a range of activities, including opportunities for social play (sharing, co-operation and taking turns), creative play (making models, painting, drawings, dance and music), physical play (climbing, making dens), imaginative play (dressing up, role play, pretending), exploratory play (discovering and investigating) and activities which promote the development of speaking, listening, mark-making, early reading and early mathematical skills.
- Do the adults and children communicate effectively?
- Do boys and girls have equal access to all types of play?
- Are you encouraged to settle in your child?
- Are you provided with any information about the services and policies?
- Will you be consulted on your child's welfare and development?
- Are the children prevented from leaving the premises undetected, are gates and fences kept secure?
- Do staff know how to reach you in an emergency?
- Do staff carry out regular fire drills and have their fire equipment maintained?
- Has the person showing you around answered your questions confidently?
- Take your time before you decide where to place your child, visit several nurseries several times if necessary.