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What to Look For When Choosing Childcare?

 


Choosing childcare and early education is a big step for you and your child. You can find out about the childcare and early education services in your area from your local Families Information Service. Ask about opening hours, price, age of children and if there is a space for your child.

There are lots of differences between different types of childcare, early education or pre-school services and also between individual childminders, nurseries, nursery classes or out of school clubs. Try and give yourself enough time to visit several possible options in your area to get a good idea of what could suit your child. Don't forget you are the expert on your child and trust your feelings.

It can be a good idea to take your child with you to see how staff talk to him or her. Try to go when children are there so you can see if they are calm, happy and busy.

Questions to Ask

Here are some suggested questions to ask when you visit. Add your own questions as well:

  1. How long have you been working with children?
  2. What qualifications do you have? 
  3. Do you enjoy being with children and why?
  4. Can I look around the building to see the rooms and outside play space? If there is no outside play space how will you make sure my child gets the chance to play outside?
  5. Where will my child rest?
  6. What kind of food and drink will you give?
  7. What will my child do all day?
  8. How do you encourage good behaviour?
  9. Will my child be with a regular group of children? How old are they? How will their timetable fit in with my child?
  10. How will you make sure I know how my child is getting on?

Looking for Quality

When you visit possible childcare options, look for these Quality Pointers. You could add your own as well.

  1. Are the children calm, safe and happy?
  2. Do children play and talk together?
  3. Are the staff listening to children and answering them carefully?
  4. Are the staff friendly and proud of their work?
  5. Are the staff joining in with what the children are doing?
  6. Are there lots of fun activities planned to help children learn and play? Can children plan some of these themselves?
  7. Are there plenty of clean toys and equipment for children to use?
  8. Are the premises clean, well-kept and safe for children with a fun outside play area (or will children go to parks and other places regularly)?
  9. Do parents have plenty of chances to say what they want for their children?
  10. If there are other things you want to know, do not be afraid to ask. Good childcare staff expect you to ask questions and will be happy to answer them.

Listen to your child and find out more if he or she seems unhappy

Always trust your own feelings about your childcare - you know your child best

For more information contact:
 

Contact Information
Contact by Post

Family Information Service (FIS)
St Peter’s Children’s Centre
Trafalgar Square
Ashton-under-Lyne
OL7 0LL
Contact by Telephone
0161 342 4260
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