Frequently Asked Questions
How do I settle my child into nursery life?
What do I need to bring to nursery with me?
Why is there so much paperwork to complete?
How do the nurseries communicate with parents?
Can parents get involved with nursery events and influence the running of the nursery?
How often will my child go outside?
Will my child be able to sleep during the day?
How do you plan for and assess each child’s learning?
What happens if my child has an accident at nursery?
What if my child requires medication?
How do you manage children’s behaviour?
What is the company’s policy on inclusion?
What happens if I am late collecting my child or am unable to get to the nursery before the nursery closes?
What are the key points of the nursery contract?
Who should I speak to if I have a concern?
We recognise and understand the anxieties for both parents and children when starting at nursery. Some children will settle in on their first visit and others will take a little longer to get used to their new environment.
To support parents and children when settling at nursery we offer as many settling in visits as are required, free of charge. The nursery manager or the child’s Key Person will contact parents a few weeks before the child’s due start date to discuss convenient times for them to visit the nursery to get used to the new environment. If parents wish they can stay in the room with the child on their first few visits and then we recommend leaving them with us, enabling the key staff in the room to start to form a relationship with the child.
At most nurseries we provide an all inclusive service therefore all you need to provide is a spare set of clothes, wellington boots and coat for the winter, sun hats for the summer and pre-measured formula milk or pre-prepared bottles for babies. Individual nurseries will advise parents of any deviation from this.
In addition to food and drink the nursery also provides all utensils and resources that children may require in their daily routine such as bowls, plates, bibs, cutlery and bedding.
We encourage parents to bring family photos to leave at nursery so the child can see familiar faces within their nursery environment.
It is of the upmost importance that we obtain as many details about a child as possible to ensure his/her welfare at nursery. Before the child’s start date the Nursery Manager will issue an information pack to be completed and returned to us at the child’s first settling in visit. This pack will contain information regarding personal contacts, emergency contact details, family information, medical details and forms which require your signature to confirm your authorisation regarding various aspects of the care we provide.
The nursery management will be happy to assist with the completion of paperwork.
Effective communication is the key to building positive relationships between parents and the nursery staff. Verbal communication is always best and our nursery management teams operate an open door policy for parents. We also have other ways we can communicate with parents to complement this, including emails, newsletters and parent evenings. When a child starts at a Casterbridge nursery parents are given a Parent Handbook which provides useful and extensive information regarding how the nursery will communicate with them.
The nurseries aim to be an integral part of the community and hold regular events such as Open Days, Fun Days and Charity fundraising activities. We invite parents and children to these events and welcome the assistance of parents in organising these activities.
We welcome parents’ suggestions or feedback regarding all aspects of the nursery and preschool and this can be delivered through the Parent Nursery Association, the suggestion box within the nursery, via our annual parent surveys or through discussion with the nursery management. In addition we ask new parents for their feedback after their child has been with us for 3 months, via a new starter survey.
As fresh air is very important, children will have daily access to the outdoor area. Subject to the constraints of the nursery buildings our children have permanent access to the outdoor area and can choose to play inside or outside. In addition we take children on trips and outings in the local area so they can learn about their communities and have access to a wider range of learning opportunities.
Many children, particularly under the age of 3 years, will require a sleep time during the day. Our nurseries have ample sleeping facilities for the children, who are offered a rest period during the day, usually after lunchtime if they attend for the whole day. Young babies will follow their own home routine for sleep times as discussed with the child’s parents. If a child does not want to sleep they will be provided with other restful activities.
Our staff members are trained to plan for children’s individual learning needs. Staff will observe their key children and identify strengths, development needs and interests and build on these through the weekly plans. Short and medium term plans for the children are displayed in the child’s base room.
Each child’s Key Person is responsible for completing an Individual Learning Journey for them. This is an assessment of your child’s progress and allows staff to record achievements against the six areas of learning outlined under the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework . This also helps staff to understand how your child needs to be supported and enables them to share information with you about your child’s progress at nursery.
As children develop physically, particularly in their early walking stages, accidents can occasionally happen. Every nursery has a large number of trained Paediatric First Aiders and also staff qualified in First Aid at Work.
If a child has had an accident at nursery the parent or carer will be informed when the child is collected and they will be asked to sign an accident form.
In the event of a bump to the head, parents will be informed by telephone. The child is monitored and in most cases will be able to continue with their day at nursery. In the event of a bump to the head causing concern, parents will be asked to collect the child and take them to their GP. Parents are given a copy of the accident form and head injury advice form upon collection of their child.
Should a child have an accident whilst at nursery which requires further medical support parents are contacted immediately and the necessary action is taken. In extreme cases this could involve calling for the support of a paramedic.
The nursery staff are able to administer various medications subject to authorisation and various safeguards. This includes the administration of long term medication such as an inhaler and external medications such as creams. Restrictions apply to un-prescribed medication and some medication such as antibiotics cannot be administered by the nursery until an initial period has elapsed (24 hours for antibiotics). The Parent Handbook contains more information or the nursery team will advise parents.
It is imperative that children have set boundaries of behaviour for their own safety and the safety of their peers. Negative behaviour often occurs when the child’s basic needs are not being met. Casterbridge Nurseries each have a named person who has overall responsibility for guiding staff and parents with issues concerning behaviour. This individual keeps up to date with the legislation and research on behaviour guidance strategies and accesses relevant sources of expertise on handling children’s behaviour. Our aim is to promote good behaviour and ensure that all children are provided with love and care, security, adequate rest and sleep, the freedom to explore, a positive self image, suitable adults as role models, consistency in their treatment, boundaries to behaviour, opportunities for self expression and opportunities for learning.
There will never be any form of physical punishment in our nurseries. Our children will never be subject to humiliation or labelled as ‘naughty’ and staff will endeavour never to raise their voices. Individuality is encouraged and the children are taught by example.
Equality: All children are welcome at our nurseries. Casterbridge are committed to promoting equal opportunities and all children within our care will be treated with equal respect irrespective of class, ethnic origin, gender, disability, race or religion.
Special Needs: We endeavour to meet all children’s individual needs and aim to include every child regardless of any special needs, whilst ensuring the needs of other children will not be disadvantaged. We endeavour to have the resources available to meet the needs of all children in our care. We will work closely in partnership with parents, providing them with information, and assist in the care and understanding of their child’s needs and/or developmental programme. We will also liaise with the appropriate multi-disciplinary teams to formalise the assessment and identification of the needs of the child.
Each nursery has a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo), who is fully trained in the Code of Practice for the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs. In addition the nursery is supported by the local authority inclusion officer.
In the very unlikely event that a parent or carer does not collect their child from the nursery at the agreed time, and no contact has been made with the nursery to inform them of alternative arrangements, every attempt will be made to contact them. If this is unsuccessful the nursery will contact the nominated emergency contact person and request that they collect the child. The nursery will remain open to enable time for the contact person to travel to the nursery. If we are unable to make contact with anyone we will inform the local out of hours children’s services department to agree the next course of action in order to ensure the child’s safety and wellbeing.
Full terms and conditions are issued with our information packs. Key points to note are:
Fees: Our nurseries require payment by direct debit on the 1st of each month, in advance. With the exception of childcare vouchers and funding no other form of payment is accepted. Bookings will be charged for regardless of whether the child attends that session or not. Refunds or replacement sessions will not be given for unattended sessions. Fees are also payable if the nursery is closed for staff training or for any event beyond our reasonable control including, but not limited to, lack of essential services or weather conditions.
Late collection: Late collection of children will be charged at the rate of £10 per 15 minutes or part thereof.
Notice period to leave the nursery or reduce sessions: Two months’ notice of the intention to cancel or reduce a child’s sessions is required. If two months’ notice is not given the outstanding fees are payable.
Additional sessions: Extra one-off sessions can be booked subject to availability. Cancellations of additional sessions must be received at least 48 hours in advance or sessions will be charged for.
Safeguarding children: The safety and wellbeing of a child is our first concern and we will need to take appropriate action if we feel that a child is at risk.
If a parent has a concern regarding the nursery this should be raised immediately with the Nursery Manager. The manager will listen and endeavour to work with the parent and the team to reach a resolution. The matter will be logged on a concern or complaint form depending on what the matter relates to.
In the unlikely event that the parent is not satisfied with the resolution they should contact the Support Office on 020 8996 3500 and ask to speak to a Director of Childcare who would be happy to assist.
A compliant can also be raised with Ofsted by contacting them on 0845 404040.
Further information can be obtained from the Parent Handbook section of this website.