When parents are visiting a childcare provider, they are usually eager to find out more about them and ask questions. If you are a parent of a young child and want to find a suitable childcare option for them but you don’t know what questions to ask, here are several questions that you could ask the provider.
Opening Times and Vacancies:
Are you open all year or just term time?
What days and hours are you open?
Do you have any vacancies (for the days and time you want)?
Is there a waiting list?
What is the hourly/daily/session cost?
Is there any additional charge for meals or outings?
Do I have to pay a deposit or a retainer?
Is there a charge if my child is poorly or on holiday?
Is there a charge if I am late picking my child up?
Do you offer the free funding for 3 and 4 year olds?
Do you take employer childcare vouchers?
Do all staff and volunteers have Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks?
Are the doors secured? How do parents and visitors gain access?
If someone arrived to see my child unannounced what would you do?
Are staff trained in first aid?
What is your child protection procedure?
Do you take and collect children from pre-school/school and if so how is this done safely?
What might a typical day involve? What is the structure or routine?
Can children plan and choose some of the activities themselves?
How do you make sure the needs and interests of individual children are met?
How does the setting care for and support children with a disability or additional need?
Do children have access to an outdoor area?
What festivals or special occasions do you celebrate and how?
How is good behaviour encouraged?
Where do children rest or sleep?
How many members of staff are there?
How do you recruit good quality staff?
How many children does one member of staff look after?
What qualifications do staff have?
What additional training have staff had?
Are meals and drinks included in the cost? What is the menu?
Are snacks included in the cost? What are the snacks?
How is food stored, prepared and served?
How are special dietary needs met?
Can I stay with my child while they settle in?
Would I be welcome into the setting at any time?
How will you keep me informed about my child?
How will you keep me informed about the setting?
What happens in an emergency?
Paperwork and Polices
Ask to see a copy of their Ofsted Registration Certificate and latest Ofsted Inspection Report.
Ask to see a copy of their insurance certificate.
Ask to see a copy of the contract before you sign it.
What is the policy if you have any concerns about the setting?
Ask for references.
First impressions count
Do the children seem happy, safe and well cared for?
Are staff friendly and welcoming to you and your child?
Are staff interacting with the children in their care?
Are children playing together? Do they look like they are having fun?
Is there a variety of good quality, safe and clean toys and equipment?
Talk to other parents at the setting for their views.