Finding the right childcare provision in Preston can be a challenge. Every nursery is different, every child unique and every family has its own personal circumstances, so finding a solution where all three fit together nicely is not always easy. To help, this post will look at the things you need to consider when looking for a nursery that meet yours and your child’s needs.
Find a provider that fits in with your personal circumstances
One of the first things to consider is your family’s personal circumstances as this will have an impact on the number of nursery providers you can choose from. For example, if you don’t use a car for transport, you might be limited to the nurseries that are within walking distance of your home.
You may also be restricted because of where you work or the hours you work. If you work a long way from home, it might be better to choose a nursery near to your place of employment. If you work unusual hours, you may find that not all nurseries cater for your needs. In some cases, you may need to arrange for someone else, a grandparent perhaps, to do the collecting or picking up.
Another obstacle you may need to consider is if you have older children who need collecting from school. This could be solved if the school also provided nursery provision, however, if it didn’t, it could make things easier to find a provider that is near to the school.
Finally, you may also want to consider the costs of childcare, as it can be expensive. Up to their second birthday, childcare for all children will need to be paid for by the parents. Above that age, there is some entitlement to free childcare.
- Eligible families (find out more) can receive funded childcare for children aged 2, up to 15 hours a week, for 38 weeks a year.
- Free childcare is available for all children aged 3 and 4, though again, this is limited to 15 hours per week for 38-weeks per year.
- In some circumstances, eligible parents of 3 and 4-year-olds may be entitled to 30 hours per week free childcare.
If you need more childcare hours than mentioned above, it will need to be paid for, as will sundry costs, such as lunches or trips, etc. Additional savings can be made if you work for an employer who is part of a childcare voucher scheme. These schemes enable employees to swap some of their pre-tax income for childcare vouchers. This means you won’t pay income tax on the costs and can effectively save 20% – or more if you are a higher earner.
Taking your family circumstances into consideration, therefore, will help you decide which nursery providers you are able to add to your shortlist.
Make sure the childcare provider is Ofsted registered
In order to keep your child safe, make sure your childcare provider is registered on the Ofsted Early Years Register. By law, all childminders, nurseries and pre-schools that look after children under eight for over two hours a day are required to register. This includes both privately run providers and those linked to an existing state school.
Ofsted requires that all employees who have unsupervised access to children undertake a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check that looks at their criminal record and which makes sure they are not on any list that bars them from working with children.
At the same time, Ofsted inspects registered childcare providers to see whether they meet the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage. This ensures they provide high-quality care and education for children which meet national standards.
Visiting the places on your list
You should never register your child at any nursery before going to see it (when its open) and taking your child with you. Regardless of its reputation or how good your friends think it is, only by going there will you get a true feel for the place and get to see how the staff respond to your child and whether your child likes being there. And even if you are very happy with the first place you visit, you should always look at somewhere else, just to give yourself something to compare it to.
When you visit a nursery provider in Preston, here’s what you should be looking for:
- Happy children who are busily engaged in activities
- Experienced and well-trained staff who are engaged with the children
- Staff that are sensitive to the needs, including special needs, of individual children
- Premises that are safe and clean
- Welcoming and well-equipped classrooms and outdoor spaces
- A range of fun, age-appropriate activities planned each day
- An emphasis on learning through play
- Activities that include exercise and quiet relaxation
To assure yourself that you are choosing the right provider for your child, make sure you ask questions about the things that you and your child find important.
Going to a nursery is an important step in your child’s development and so it is very important that you find a registered provider that is the right match for your child and your personal circumstances. Hopefully, the information provided here will help parents in Preston have a better idea of what to look for.
If you are seeking a nursery place in Preston, take a look at what we have to offer here at Little Rascals.