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What to look for when choosing a nursery


26 October 2022

Choosing a nursery is no easy task and many parents and carers wonder how to choose the right nursery. There’s no question that you’ll want to enrol your child into the best nursery you can find, however with so many childcare providers out there, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by choice. 

How do I know it’s the right one for me and my child? Do the childcare hours work with my schedule? Can the nursery staff provide special care for my child? 

Many parents we speak to have concerns about how their child will settle in, if they’ll like it and if they’ll make friends, and have questions about what their children will get up to throughout the day. 

Here’s all the guidance and information we have when it comes to choosing a nursery: 

What is the purpose of childcare?

For some families, childcare is a necessity that allows them to work and manage other responsibilities. For others, childcare is something that is a choice to help with their child’s development. 

Whatever your reason for choosing childcare, your child will always receive high-quality care to help them develop social, emotional and physical skills that will set them up for school and onwards in life.

The EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) sets the standard for early years learning to support children between the ages of 3 months to 5 years with their learning and development. It also underpins all of our practice and care and our staff are fully trained to provide care that is to the standard of the EYFS.

Want to read more about the EYFS and how it supports your child’s development? Click here to read the latest EYFS information.

Make a shortlist of nurseries

First things first; make a shortlist of nurseries that suit you as a parent. This means researching the nurseries local to your home or work and deciding which ones suit your schedule, suit your child’s upbringing, and are within your budget.

Some common things to enquire about are: 

  • Hours the nursery is open
  • The cost; per hour, day or week
  • Space and availability

You may also want to ask about whether they can provide additional support, if they have on-site or local parking or access to public transport, and whether they can adapt to your children’s dietary or medical needs.

As much as you want to fulfil your child’s care needs when choosing a nursery, it’s equally important to find a nursery that fulfils yours, too. Finding a nursery that meets the needs of your child and yourself will benefit you both. 

Once you’ve got a list of nurseries you’re interested in and fit around you, it’s time to book a visit where you can ask more questions, see how the staff interact with the children and view the nursery setting in more detail.

To find your local Kids Planet Day Nursery, you can use our useful Find a Nursery tool.

Visiting the nursery

There’s only one sure way to decide if you like the nursery, and that is to arrange a visit. Visiting a nursery in person will allow you the opportunity to meet the staff, find out more about them and their experience/how good they are with the children, ensure the setting is clean, safe and well-equipped and that the other children seem happy and cared for.

When you go to visit, consider bringing a friend or family member with you, as well as your child. This will allow you to get a second opinion on the nursery and your child will have an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the setting. 

What to look for when visiting a nursery

There are some key things to look out for when visiting a nursery, such as the setting itself, how the staff interact with you and the children, and the activities the children are doing at the time. 

Here are some things we suggest you keep an eye out for during a nursery visit:

Access to an outdoor space

Do the children have access to an outdoor space, and if they don’t have access, then how do the staff incorporate outdoor time into the children’s day and how regularly does that take place?

Outdoor play is rich with benefits for children of all ages and can help manage stress, develop motor skills and connect with their peers. Kids Planet understands the importance of the outdoors and nature and spends as much time as we can outside with the children, whether that be through planned activities or unlimited outdoor access. 

We practice the Danish concept of Udeskole within some of our nurseries, which is the theory and practice of outdoor learning in a natural environment. Rhiannon Scott is our Outdoor Lead and is truly passionate about connecting children with nature and getting them outside.

Learn more about Udeskole and the benefits of outdoor play for children in a previous blog.

Warm welcome and positive atmosphere

First impressions mean everything. Did you and your child get greeted with a big smile and a happy hello? Do the children seem content and are the staff interacting with them how you’d like your child to be interacted with? Does the nursery appear to be inclusive of all children and backgrounds? 

We strive to create an enabling and inclusive environment that provides children with the space, freedom and resources they need to play, explore and learn. Our staff are highly qualified childcare professionals who observe and listen to your child to gain a deep understanding of their interests, needs and learning styles. This means they can adapt and encourage play to help them reach their full potential, and have fun whilst doing so!

You will notice our dedicated and caring teams love to encourage your child’s curiosity and imagination. Our indoor spaces have been designed with neutral colours and with natural resources to allow children to revel in the simplicities and delights of the everyday. We offer open-ended toys and resources so children can really explore their imagination and understanding of the world around them.

Learn more about our philosophy and vision here.

Are the facilities suitable for your child?

What facilities you’ll choose will be dependent on your child’s needs – and no two children are the same. Whether your child needs additional learning and/or physical support or has specific dietary requirements, we adapt our care with guidance from our SENDCo specialists. 

Choosing an inclusive childcare provider supports children who are at risk of or who have faced inequality and discrimination. As an inclusive group of day nurseries, we are proactive in our approach to inclusivity by removing barriers such as negativity, bias and stereotyping. To promote positivity and inclusivity, and to ensure all children are treated equally, we make sure every child is able to participate in all the activities we do in the nursery. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the additional support our nurseries provide, click here.

outstanding nursery

Questions to ask when visiting a nursery

When you visit a nursery, it’s the perfect opportunity to get answers to questions you couldn’t find online or need to further discuss. The questions you ask and the information you need will vary depending on your situation and needs, but we recommend always asking the following questions. 

Here are the most commonly asked questions we get from parents:

What is the ratio of staff to children? 

In all of our Kids Allowed and Kids Planet settings, we follow the ratio guidelines outlined by the EYFS to ensure your children are in the best possible care. These ratios are:

  • For children 0 – 2 years the ratio is 1 adult : 3 children
  • For children 2 – 3 years the ratio is 1 adult : 4 children
  • For children 3 years and older the ratio is 1 adult : 8 children or 1 adult : 13 children with an EYP or teacher

What qualifications do the staff have?

All of our staff are fully qualified to Level 3 in Childcare or higher, and those who are not fully qualified are studying their Level 3 qualification.

Are all the staff DBS checked?

DBS checks can also be referred to as a CRB or police checks. We always run a background check on all of our employees and these checks are renewed every two years.

What does a typical day look like?

You may be wondering “what does my child do at nursery?” and it can change from day to day but we always follow a routine. On a full day, the morning will consist of breakfast and play, whether that be doing an activity or free play, followed by a snack and some outdoor play. 

We serve lunch just before noon and by midday, the children will settle down for some quiet time or a nap. The afternoons are full of more fun and activities, including messy play and physical activity such as yoga or a mindfulness activity. 

For an hour-by-hour breakdown across the different age ranges, visit our Day in the Life page.

Kids Planet Chorley

Do you provide meals?

Meals are provided to the children at all of our settings and are freshly cooked on the day. We cater to all dietary requirements such as Halal, vegetarianism and veganism. Food is so important for children and their development, so we always choose the best quality nutritious foods and make comforting, healthy meals that kids love.

We even have our own Kids Planet Cookbook! Just ask your nursery for a copy. We’ve also spoken about how to get your children involved in the kitchen.

How will you support my child whilst settling in?

We’re here to support your child throughout their settling in process. Each child will settle in differently, and no matter how your child’s settling in process goes, we’re here to adapt our care to make it a smooth transition for you and your child.

To help your child, we’ll greet them with a big smile and offer them their favourite toys or activities to distract and entertain them. There are also steps that can be taken prior to joining nursery that will help with your child’s new nursery adventure.

Click here for our guide on preparing your child for nursery.

Choosing the perfect nursery

Searching for the right nursery can be daunting, so keep these tips in mind during your selection process to make the most of your search. To find your closest Kids Planet nursery, you can use our Find a Nursery tool. 

To use the Find a Nursery tool, simply enter your postcode or location name and choose your radius and suitable nurseries will appear. Clicking through to a nursery will give you photos of the nursery, a 3D tour and contact information. 

If you want to hear more about the nursery, book an appointment to visit or book your child a space, you can also access these options on the nursery pages.


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