The following would serve as indicators of a high quality of care being provided for children in the Nursery:

1. The Nursery should strive to be a home away from home with a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

2. The NCNA guidelines on child/staff ratios should be perceived as a minimum ratio which is in operation at all times.

3. The Nursery environment should be planned and well-organised in a way that suits the different needs of individual children, while keeping in mind the importance of safety and hygiene.

4. The daily programme should include a variety of activities which encourage the physical, intellectual, emotional and social development of children; it should be based on clearly-defined aims and objectives and should always be flexible.

5. The provision of interesting, varied, challenging and satisfying play experiences is an essential element of quality care. Play materials and equipment should be set out in such a way that they are accessible to the children, enabling them to make choices about how they spend their time, as well as promoting independence and self-motivation.

6. Parents should be actively welcomed in the Nursery at all times (and breastfeeding mothers should be accommodated). There should be a facility for sharing information and communicating with parents directly, in order to give feedback at the end of each day and to ensure that they are made aware of ongoing developments in policies and procedures. Parents should be involved in settling-in the child, if necessary, at the beginning of the day and should be made to feel welcome in doing this.

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