Choosing Childcare

Choosing childcare can be a daunting experience for some parents. They may be anxious for the experience to be as good as possible and for their children to be safe and happy. There might be confusion about the types of childcare available, and which would best suit the needs of their child and family.

We believe that every child matters and we want to help parents choose the best quality childcare available for their child.

In this blog post, we will give information on the 4 main childcare options, which are:

  • Childminders
  • Pre-Schools
  • Day Nurseries
  • Out of school clubs

Childminders

  • The average cost of sending your child to a childminder in the West Midlands is £178.27 per week.
  • A childminder cares for children in their own home. In order to care for a child, they must register with OFSTED.
  • Childminders look after children from very young (0) to teenagers.
  • Before choosing a childminder, look around the home. Do they have plenty for the children to do? Is there access to outdoor space?
  • Ask to see documents of OFSTED visits. How has OFSTED rated the setting?
  • When visiting a childminder’s home, take a list of questions to ask the childminder before making your decision.
  • Are there plenty of toys and activities for the children?
  • Ask to see policies and procedures, especially ones for keeping children safe.
  • The term after a child turns 3, they are entitled to free 15 hours childcare during term time, check to see if the childminder is able to offer this.

Pre-School/Playgroups

  • The average cost of sending your child to pre-school is £5-10 per 3 hour session.
  • Pre-Schools often run either all morning or all afternoon, or for shorter days.
  • Pre-schools take children from ages 2 and a half until school age (4).
  • When visiting a pre-school, ask yourself are the staff friendly? Do they make you welcome when you first enter the building?
  • Make sure you’re happy with how far away pre-school is from your home, and the school your child might attend.
  • Before choosing a pre-school, list some possible options. Then make time to visit each one so you make the right decision.
  • Take your child to visit possible pre-schools. How do the staff interact with the children? Do the children enjoy the activities?
  • Ask to see documents of OFSTED visits. How has OFSTED rated the setting?
  • The term after a child turns 3, they are entitled to free 15 hours childcare during term time, check to see if the pre-school offers this.

Day Nurseries

  • The average cost of sending your child to nursery in the West Midlands is £197.14 per week.
  • Day Nurseries take children from very young (0) school age, some also have an out of school club and so take teenagers.
  • When visiting a nursery, take your child and see how they react.
  • Is there a variety of activities and a play area at the nursery? Is it child-friendly? Are the children happy?
  • Ask the manager of the nursery to show you its OFSTED certificate. The certificate will show how good the nursery is.
  • Look at how the nursery staff interact with each child. The carers should make time to know each individual child well.
  • The term after a child turns 3, they are entitled to free 15 hours childcare during term time, check to see if the pre-school offers this.

Out of school clubs

  • The average cost of out of school clubs in the West Midlands averages between £6 and £10 per session.
  • Out of school clubs are where children go before school, after school or during the school holidays.
  • Out of school clubs usually take children from the age of 5 until they’re teenagers.
  • Have a look at the range of activities on offer. Do you think your child would enjoy them and would they keep busy?
  • Look around the club/environment and notice how the staff and children interact with each other.
  • Chat to other parents and see what they have to say about the club. Find out opinions from different parents.
  • Ask to see documents of OFSTED visits. How has OFSTED rated the setting?

This link below will take you to the Ofsted website where you can find Ofsted inspection reports for childcare providers.

https://www.gov.uk/find-ofsted-inspection-report

For information on registered childcare in Shropshire please contact Shropshire Family Information Service on 01743 250465 or email ShropshireFIS@Shropshire.gov.uk

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