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How to choose childcare

Choosing childcare is one of the most important decisions you will make as a parent. There are many types of childcare provision so you can choose an arrangement that is most likely to suit your child’s personality, your parenting style and your family needs.

Although parents do not have to send their child to any form of early years provision before statutory school age, good quality childcare and early years education is proven to help your child’s personal, emotional, social and intellectual development.

You may find it helpful to consider the following questions:

  • Are you and your child made to feel welcome and at ease?
  • Do the children look safe, calm and happy?
  • Does each child receive warm and individual attention?
  • Do the adults listen and respond sensitively to each child at the child’s level?
  • Is there a good variety of clean, safe and well-maintained toys, books and play equipment for the children to use?
  • Is there a wide range of stimulating and fun activities planned to help children learn and play?
  • Is there a quiet area available should your child wish to rest?
  • Is there outdoor play available? If not, how will access to outdoor play be provided?
  • How do children spend their time - what routines will they be expected to follow?
  • What types of food and drinks are provided, and when?
  • Are the premises clean, well-kept and safe?
  • Are there clear procedures for first aid, or emergency medical treatment?
  • What Early Years qualifications and training do the staff members hold?
  • What is the ratio of adults to children?
  • Will there be a regular time set aside for you to discuss the progress of your child
  • Does every child have someone who will take special responsibility for them?
  • How is behaviour managed?
  • Will you be encouraged to stay with your child during the settling in stage?
  • Most of all, do you feel the setting will meet the needs of your child?

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