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Finding a playgroup, nursery or infant school

Go to see the group or school

See a few if you have a choice. Talk to the people in charge, look at what’s going on, ask questions.

Trust your feelings

If you like the feel of a place and the children seem happy and busy, that’s a good sign. You know best the kind of place that will suit your child.

Talk to other parents whose children are at the group or school

Your health visitor may also be able to tell you about other parents’ views and experiences.

Talk about ways of settling your child in happily

Staff may suggest ways of helping with this. At a playgroup or nursery school you might, for example, stay with your child at first and then go away for longer and longer periods. Some children are helped by this sort of gentle start; for others a clean break seems to work best. Some take to change and separation quite easily; others find it hard. Be prepared to give support and reassurance for quite some time if needed.

In some situations, more support and reassurance may be needed. For example, it may be that your child will be one of very few black children at a mainly white school, or one of very few white children. In this situation, talk to the school beforehand about the kind of difficulties that a different colour, culture or language might bring. Find out how the school will handle these, make suggestions yourself if you want to, and explain your child’s needs. Talk with your child too, in whatever way seems best.

We are indebted to Health Promotion England for their help in compiling this section.