* Childcare Element of the Working Tax Credit
* Free Early Education Offer
- Day nurseries can be run by the council, the community, based in the workplace or privately run.
- Opening times tend to coincide with a standard working day - 8am to 6pm, or possibly 7pm weekdays, 50 weeks of the year. You can send your child full or part time.
- A day nursery provides care and education for children between the ages of six weeks and five years. (Many also offer out-of-school care for five- to eleven-year-olds.)
- When your child stammers you need to be certain that staff either have some training in speech, language and communication needs, or are willing to learn about stammering, perhaps from your child's speech and language therapist, and the BSA-Leaflets.
- Many nurseries operate a key carer system - whereby each child is assigned a particular member of staff.
- Your child should experience learning and development activities suitable for their age that are based on the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum.
How can I be sure of good quality care?
Always use a registered day nursery to ensure it is regularly inspected by Office of Standards in Education (OFSTED), but also to check that the free part-time early education is satisfactory. Children will be grouped together by age and looked after by carers according to specified staff/children ratios to help ensure your child gets the attention he needs. The day nursery will have qualified staff and will usually take between 25 and 40 children
Remember the rules: for under-twos, it's three children per carer; for two-year-olds, four children per carer and older children, eight children per carer. When a teacher, Early Years Professional or a person with another suitable level 6 qualification is present and interacting directly with children aged over three, the staffing ratio of one adult to 13 children can apply.
What will it cost me?
On average £197 (in London) and £155 (elsewhere) for a full-time week for children under two, above that age it may be slightly less. However, rates will vary across the country. Your local Children's Information Service will be able to give you up-to-date local costs.
Is it for me?
- I feel happy leaving my child in a place where there are qualified staff
- I need somewhere open virtually all year
- My hours fit in with their opening times
- I need to know that there will always be someone to look after my child - if one carer is sick, another can cover
- I have emergency backup - ill children can't attend day nursery
- I want my child to have access to different toys, equipment and stimulation
- I think my child is ready for new experiences
Questions to ask your day nursery
- What is the ratio of carers to children?
- What is the daily routine?
- Where will my child eat/play/nap?
Ask a member of staff to walk you round, room by room.
- Is it clean, light and big enough?
- Is there a safe and secure outdoor play area?
- Are the children well supervised?
- Do they look happy and purposeful?
- Is there a lot going on?
- Look for projects and drawings up on the walls. What about stimulating toys and books on show?
- Will your child be taken off the premises? Ask for examples of where.
- Are nutritious meals provided?
- Will you keep a daily record of what they've done and keep contact with me, in a home school diary?
- Do you offer school pick-ups and out-of-school care? Some nurseries will do this.
- Are there penalties if you're late to pick up your child?
- Are the security arrangements satisfactory?
- Be certain the day nursery has places for your child's age group. Some don't take children under two.
- Go back for a second 'viewing'. Do this at a different time of day to your first visit. Take your child with you to see how they get on with other children, staff and in the surroundings.
- Talk to other parents who use the nursery - ask their views on the provision.
For more info...
Call Childcarelink on 0800 096 0296 for the telephone number of your local Children’s Information Service (CIS).
National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA): call 0870 774 4244.
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