For some parents, the pressure to start looking for suitable nurseries starts almost immediately after birth, or in some cases, even whilst they are still expecting. The key to being able to influence a parent’s choice is to understand what they are looking for in a nursery.
We have listed some of the most influential factors that parents consider whilst they are looking at nursery choices:
Step 1: Location, location, location
Parents are most likely to choose nurseries that are within walking distance of their house. What can you do about this? Make sure your setting’s signage clearly shouts that you have spaces available! If your sign or banner is colourful, bright and has all the key information – you are a step further to making yourself memorable to the local parent that walks by.
Step 2: Ofsted rating
It goes without saying that many parents will only consider sending their children to nurseries rated “Good” or “Outstanding”. If you’re not quite there yet, read this guide on how to be well prepared for your next Ofsted inspection.
Step 3: Lasting Impression
When a parent visits your nursery and is being shown around, they will try to assess whether the “feel” of the nursery environment will suit their child. Meeting friendly and caring faces, and seeing happy children playing and making noise – these are the lasting things they will take away from the visit.
Step 4: Outdoor play areas
What are your outdoor facilities like? Parents will want to know that their children have access to outside play areas for part of the day, in good quality and stimulating environments. For ideas on how to improve your outdoor play area in line with EYFS, visit this site.
Step 5: Well decorated classrooms
Bare walls may look more sterile and be easier to clean; but what parents would really like to see is that their chosen nursery carries out a range of different activities with the children and is proud to display paintings and drawings on walls.
Step 6: Safe and Secure
Will my child be safe here? Is a question at the forefront of many parents’ minds. Show them the measures you have to make sure that children cannot wander freely of their own will, and that there is a strict policy in place to make sure that no unauthorised people can gain access to the nursery.
Step 7: Food for thought
Many parents are very conscientious about what their children eat. Naturally, if you provide meals, they may ask to see an example of the menu. Nutritious meals made with plenty of fruit and vegetables on a nursery menu will win hands down over hastily prepared, processed foods with too much salt. For ideas on how to create a winning menu, click here.
Step 8: Parent’s involvement
In an age of technology including portable devices and laptops – there is an ever increasing expectation from parents that their childcare providers will keep them up to date with their child’s activities and upcoming events. How does your communication with parents stack up? If you have a “Parent Portal” and use a range of social media such as Facebook and Twitter, let potential parents know about it!
Want to find out how software could change your nursery?