What to look for and questions to ask
What training and experience does the carer or team have? What is staff turnover like? Are all staff DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checked? What checks are carried out when appointing staff?
Is it secure? Does it feel nurturing? Are there pets? Is it non-smoking? Is there enough space? Is there secure outside space? If not, where will children play in fresh air?
What’s on the menu? Is there fresh fruit and veg? Is there access to water when children want it? Do they cater for special diets?
Who supervises and how? What is the staff to child ratio?
What are the routines? How is difficult behaviour dealt with? Are staff warm, do they join in and show affection? There should be a written policy which you can see.
Is it creative, varied, plentiful and of a high standard? Do displays show different cultures positively? What physical activities do they do?
Are the toilets and basins clean and child-sized? Are there facilities for potty training and baby changing? Where and how are meals prepared?
What happens in the case of an emergency or accident? What safety procedures do they have in place?
How are parents consulted? How are parents involved? How are complaints dealt with? Are there references from other parents available?
Is there a copy of the latest Ofsted inspection report? When is the next inspection due? You can see Ofsted reports at www.ofsted.gov.uk. There is also a link to the Ofsted inspection from individual childcare listings on www.pinpointdevon.co.uk. Childcare run by a school will be included on that school’s Ofsted report.
Ask about all your needs and expectations. And remember to ask about things like: your specific working hours, time-keeping, baby-sitting and the policy on late pick-ups.