This week is National Childcare Week, a chance to celebrate quality childcare provision in Shropshire, where children are cared for, educated, are safe and have fun. Choosing childcare can be a daunting task for some parents, understanding the different types of childcare and which will suit the needs of their child and family. This blog post will cover the different types of registered childcare available, to help parents make the best choice possible.
Childminders are childcare professionals who care for other people’s children in a safe and caring environment in the childminders own home. Childminders normally care for children from aged 3 months to teenagers and play a key role in supporting and nurturing children’s development. Some childminders are able to collect children from pre-school and school and many offer childcare before and after school and during school holidays. Childminders are required by law to be registered with Ofsted, if they offer a childcare service in their own home, for more than two hours per day for children aged under eight years. They are often registered to care for up to 6 children under the age of 8 years, some work with assistants which enables them to care for more children.
Nurseries can range in size from small settings, for 15-20 children, to much larger settings, for around 100 children. Nurseries generally operate between 8am and 6pm, and care for children from 3 months. Most nurseries have separate rooms or areas for groups of babies, toddlers and pre-school children. Some nurseries also have an out of school club and offer before, after school and school holiday care. Nurseries are also required to be registered with Ofsted.
Pre-Schools and Playgroups
Pre-school/ Playgroups provide play and early education for children aged 2-5 years. The hours of operation vary and usually operate only during school term time. Pre-school/ Playgroups operate from a variety of locations including community centres and others utilise purpose built facilities on or near school sites. Children attend playgroups for a variety of reasons including; to gain sound educational experiences with the emphasis on learning through play; to develop skills and confidence prior to starting school; and to have opportunities to socialise and make friends.
Out of School and Holiday Clubs
Out of School (before and after-school) clubs are for school-age children to play and learn, and have fun in groups. Out of school clubs are specifically open after school and will usually collect your child from school and take them to the after-school club. They are usually based on or near the school site. Out of school clubs can be registered with Ofsted and inspected each year, provided they are caring for children eight years of age and under, for more than two hours every day. If they run for under 2 hours they do not have to be registered.
Holiday clubs are childcare for children in the school holidays, normally for school aged children, that allows parents to continue to work or train during the school holidays. The type of service and the age of children attending will determine whether the provision is registered with Ofsted.
If you want information on the types of childcare available in your area then please email ShropshireFIS@shropshire.gov.uk and we’ll send you an information pack or call 01743 254400 and we can talk to you about your options.