What are the essential things you should do during a show round?


The journey through the nursery should be both encouraging and impressive for the parent(s), to portray a friendly, lasting environment. In order to create a safe and welcoming atmosphere in your setting, what essential things do you implement to ensure a successful show round?

Perhaps the most essential part of a successful show round is having staff properly trained. Are specific staff responsible for show rounds, having a particular procedure that they must follow?

Do you have an open door policy to allow parents to look around at short notice, or do you book a small group to take around all at once? What’s the strangest or funniest thing you’ve ever been asked by a parent? Share your experiences of what has worked best in your setting below.

Resource: ‘Handling telephone queries from prospective parents’

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8 thoughts on “What are the essential things you should do during a show round?

  • October 1, 2011 at 9:43 am

    As the owner of a small setting I ask parents to make an appointment to come and have a look around so that I can ensure there are enough staff to maintain ratios.I do the show arounds. Although I agree that showing parents around who are unexpected is the way it should be I have great concerns about the safety issues surrounding this. Just who are you letting in? At least if they have made an appointment you can minimise the risk as you have a name to check them by. Most parents are reassured of this safety consideration.

  • September 30, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    We welcome all familes/parents/carers to view our setting through both booked and unannouced visits. We will always inform any new parents who enquire over the phone, to visit our setting at a time that is suitable to them, we work on the basis that if OFSTED have the privilage of inspecting our setting unannouced so should the families who intend to use us.

    As the nursery manager I would normally assist the parents in their visit around the setting and feel it is a great opportunity to build the foundations of a strong parents-carer relationship. I rarely use the same “speach” to prospective parents as I feel you gain so much more form the parents if you talk “to” them as opposed to “at” them. This gives the parents an opportunity to feel relaxed, comfortable and the sense of feeling like both themselves and their child is important to us as a setting.
    We welcome parents to ask questions, although in my experience if in open dialogue with the prospective parents this comes as a normal part of the converstaion.

    There are no time limitations to how long parents stay within our setting during a look around and again I feel this offers parents the opportunity to see the real us, especially on the odd occasions its warts and all during a messy lunch time!!

    Parents are offered a no obligation set of trial visits, whereby they can come for a couple of hours to spend time within the environment and the nursery staff who will be caring for their child.

    Overal as setting we rarely advertise ourselves and feel proud in the knowledge that many of our parents are recommend to use by existing or previous parents and even by the odd health care professional.
    Our only complaint that comes from prospective parents is the waiting list we have for available spaces, as we are currrently mindful of not exceeding our settings numbers right the way through to 2013!!!

  • September 30, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    In my mind the the essential element of a successful show around is whether the parent(s) has made commitment to send their child to the nursery….i.e have we closed the sale? As somebody new within this sector I would appreciate any examples of success stories where by doing something different you have improved the “conversion ratio” of show arounds to sign -ups?

    • September 30, 2011 at 2:43 pm

      Allow the parents the opportunity to feel they are a valued by the setting, not because of the revenue they will make you (althoug this is important!!) but because your setting is passionate about providing quality childcare to their child.
      In my opinion it worries me that as a childcare service some settings rush the visits. Parents will probably on average, spend more time in the supermarket that week buying the food shopping than the time given to them when selecting the setting that will be responsible for caring for their most prized possesion…their child!!
      What will make your setting stand out from the crowd (apart from the professionalism) is the level of individual service you strive to provide to a family. The EYFS is heavily weighted with comments about caring for the child as an individual this is even more apparent and necessary for the parents, who to like to go away in the knowledge that they feel important to you as a setting.

  • September 30, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    We have two people who usually do the visits, one being myself and the other being my Co-Deputy Manager Ashley. We will book parent’s in for appointments if they enquire by phone or email but we also allow people to look around if they pop up to the nursery but haven’t made an appointment. We feel it is important to allow as much flexibility as possible and we maintain a high standard of practise at all times.

    As the Deputy Manager’s do the visits, we are able to achieve the correct ratios within all areas of the nursery. Parent’s are guided around the nursery and are also shown our Nature Trail and other outdoor areas. We feel visits are a fantastic way for parent’s to meet the staff, ask any questions they have and view the wide variety of facitlities we have to offer like our Multi Sensory Room.

    We encourage all staff to communicate with parent’s and make them feel welcome. This attitude creates a friendly community-feel within the nursery. As we do not actively advertise our nursery on a regular basis, most of our visits are from parent’s who have heard recommendations from other parents who already attend the nursery or have done in the past.

    During the visits, we will answer any questions the parent’s have, try to give them as much information as possible and also allow them opportunities to see our policies and procedures. Each visitor or person who enquires about the nursery are given a brochure pack with information about the nursery and an enrolment form to fill out. We also use visits as an opportunity to discuss our pre-enrolments. Each family recieve three one hour sessions free of charge to get to know their new environment and the staff and to also ask any more qustions they might still have.

    With all these methods in place, we seem to achieve very high intake at the nursery and parent’s are very relaxed and comfortable with both the staff and the nursery in general.

  • September 30, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Whilst its great to have an open door policy to potential new custom I bare a thought for the existing custom, who is it exactly we are about to show around our nursery ? I would not preprare for a visit other than to arrange staff coverage for my absence, I would not give any time limitations, they can stay all day if they want. We would insist that their children at least arrive with them and are present for the whole visit, although we would try to fit the child in to the correct age room where the Parents can observe the Joy and Happiness written all over their faces, followed by that moment when the child realises that they will eventually have to go back home. We would only ever show parents around individually, never as a group, we are considering holding open days, although when you are fully booked and asking for bookings prior to conception whats the point !
    I would never reveal what Parents ask or may tell you, just would say, its unbelievable.

  • September 30, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Its always the Manager unless she really cant, then we have 1-2 others that are confident to do so
    We allow parents to come in unannouched – you should not need to “prepare” you should be proud to show off your Centre at any time
    If its sleep time, we explain they are not “seeing it at its best” but we still allow them in, they can always come back
    If we are busy at the very moment they walk in, we get them a coffee, make them feel welcome and tell them we will be back as soon as we can.
    What other busienss do you know that turns customers away? I am always amazed the amount of customers we have through the door that have been turned away from other Nurseries who have told them they are “too busy” and to come back later – suppose its good for us though!
    When doing showaround, we always remain “in ratio” in our rooms, we dont take someone out of a room unless we can cover them.

  • September 30, 2011 at 11:10 am

    We ask parents to book an appointment to ensure no one is taken off the floor away from the children. I normally allow an hour to an hour and a half, for each parent or set of parents. Parents can call unannounced and have done so, we will show them around if we have time, if i’m due to go on a school run I will explain and they can have a quick tour and then come back on a booked visit. We try to give parents the information they need, they get to meet the staff and can sit and chat informally. We give parents chance to view policies, check out inspection reports etc. We give parents a parent pack to take home. Many parents choose to book on the day which we can then confrim that place. If parents come alone they will very often want to dicuss with the other parent, we allow them time to come back to us, but will not confirm their booking until we recieve their contract. We find many parents thank us for the time we have spent with them!


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