The Secret To Choosing A Good Nursery

Already know about The 3 Most Important Things In Choosing A Childcare Provider? Well maybe it’s time to go into more detail on how to spot a good nursery.

Like myself, a lot of people work in childcare because they’re passionate about it and want to make a positive difference in children’s lives. However, a nursery is still a business, and like all businesses, you can tell how things are doing by taking a close look at the staff.

Uh-oh. Too Many Kids?

If The Staff Aren’t Happy, The Children Won’t Be Either

It may seem obvious, but scientists decided to study it anyway:

Depressed Caregivers Hostile, Not Warm, To Children

So unhappy staff will have a negative effect on children. Simple. What’s less simple though, is judging how happy staff are.

How Do You Tell If Staff Are Happy?

If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to have a private chat with some of the staff. However, don’t expect them to come to you saying “Hey, this place sucks, get me out of here!” Other things you should look at include:

  • Turnover. Staff leave if they’re not happy, so check with the management what turnover is like. On the flip side, management will also brag if they have staff who’ve been around for a long time, so if they don’t do that, alarm bells should be ringing. And don’t just believe whatever management says; double-check with the staff.
  • Staff benefits. Good employment packages and opportunities for career development  go a long way in keeping staff happy. The current  nursery setting I’m in has booked a hotel for a training day, which has been great for morale.
  • Staff ratios. Nobody likes to be doing more than they should be, and staff ratios help to ensure that a room isn’t understaffed. Not every country has a legal requirement for staff ratios, but in the UK staff to children ratios are according to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), which is 1:3 for under 2s, 1:4 for 2-3s and 1:8 for 3-5s.

These are some of my personal views from a staff member’s viewpoint. I wonder how others feel about the issue?

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7 responses to this post.

  1. If you own a nursery and your staff keep leaving, will you tell your prospective clients what is the turnover rate in your nursery? Nope… I don’t think so lah…

    I agree with the staff ratios mentioned. I’d certainly not want to place my child in a nursery which is understaffed…


  2. If they asked I would. 🙂 Rather than tell a lie which will easily be uncovered in a short period of time.

    It’s hard to tell if a nursery will be understaffed though. Just because there’s a lot of staff around when you drop your kid off in the morning doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be like that throughout the whole day.

    I was wondering if there’s any interest in nurseries which let parents view their kids anytime they want with a webcam.


    • Posted by Audrey Lee on 2 December, 2009 at 11:29 am

      I know of some nurseries in Malaysia that have CCTV in their centres and parents can view them anytime on their website. I think once parents hv surveyed and made up their mind that they can trust the centre, they should do so. Having webcams feels like one is living in a cage and is being constantly watched (I feel it infringes on the human rights). It would be better for parents to drop in at any time without prior notice, should they wish to check on their children, etc. What is your view of having such facility?


  3. I’ve heard about them in Malaysia as well, Audrey, and I also agree that it’s like management putting up a great big electronic signboard for staff which says “You can’t be trusted.”

    I don’t think parents dropping in unannounced would work though, as parents wouldn’t be allowed to just sneak around the nursery without anyone noticing them.

    Quite an interesting topic. In my opinion, from the staff’s perspective, it shows a lack of trust. From the parents’ perspective, I think it’ll do more harm than good, because they’ll only obsess about it during the early stages, but that’s the time the child will be most upset, and have to learn to be more independent and self-confident.

    From management’s perspective, could be the most vital though. It provides safety and peace of mind, as there’s so many cases of freaks and weirdos these days, so perhaps its better to err on the side of safety? Better to have 50% of your staff and parents disgruntled, than to have even one case of a psycho in the nursery slipping through the cracks.


  4. my friend shared with me on her decision to put cctv in the nursery…3 staff left after that…
    well…i guess nobody likes to be watched 🙂


  5. […] Photo credit Uncategorized    Dairy free life – Yorkshire puddings » […]


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