Choosing the right childcare to suit an individual child can seem a complex task as there are many different types of childcare available. The right childcare depends on the needs of the child as not all children are the same. The needs of the family for full-time, part-time or specialist care will also be different.
Be sure that the facility is registered with Ofsted and has a current, valid certificate of registration. This should be on display in a public place.
The certificate will state how many children can be cared for, the ages they should be, opening hours, the staff ratios that need to be in operation and the rooms that can be used.
If at all possible, you and your child should make several visits to the care facility.
Try to take up references. You could ask to speak to other parents about your chosen service.
Listen to your child, and find out more if he or she seems unhappy.
When you visit possible childcare options, look for these quality pointers. You could add your own as well to make a relevant list.
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?
9. Is there a fun outside play area (or will children go to parks and other places regularly)?
10. Do parents have plenty of chances to say what they want for their children?
Remember: good childcare staff expect to be asked questions and will be happy to answer them.
Always trust your own feelings about your childcare - you know your child best.
Ofsted inspect all childcare providers on a regular basis. At the end of the inspection, Ofsted will judge the quality of provision on a grading system.
Parents can ask to see the inspection report and the grades awarded, or view it on the Ofsted Website: www.ofsted.gov.uk