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5 Steps to Choosing Childcare

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  1. Draw up a shortlist using information from your local Children’s Information Service (CIS)  or call 08000 96 02 96.  Check hours, price, vacancies.
  2. Visit several places on your shortlist and ask questions – take a friend and/or your child with you to help to assess each place.
  3. Make your decision.
  4. Take up at least 2 references from your chosen person or childcare centre – the childcare provider should have no problem in providing you with names of parent who use their service.
  5. Book your child’s place – you may need to pay a retainer fee to keep the place open until your child starts.  Arrange details such as hours, start date, who is allowed to pick up your child.

What to look for in a childcare provider

  • Trained and experienced staff ready to learn and respond to your child’s individual needs
  • Busy but relaxed children who seem happy and purposeful
  • Safe and clean premises – welcoming and friendly with outside play space
  • Cultural sensitivity and responsiveness to child’s home life
  • Staff team and group of children who reflect local ethnic and cultural groups
  • Fun activities planned each day – childminders, nurseries and out of school clubs should all plan their days with children’s interests in mind.  Exercise and quiet times are important
  • A big welcome for you and your child

What children want from childcarers – the 5 ‘Fs’

When the Daycare Trust asked children to say what was important to them about nurseries, children said:
  1. Friends: check a stable group of children attend so your children can build relationships with a core group
  2. Food: mealtimes should be relaxed and fun and the food, of course, should be well-balanced and nutritious
  3. Fun outside: check the outside area is well planned, spacious and safe
  4. Finding out: make sure there is plenty of opportunity for children to learn new things with varied, carefully planned things to do
  5. Feeling safe and loved: make sure the staff are able to respond to individual children’s needs, to comfort and encourage them and to keep them safe

For more information, contact Daycare Trust  and ask for ‘Listening to Children’, a guide to children’s views on nurseries.