Types of childcare
The first thing you will need to do when arranging childcare is find out exactly what is available in the area. Once you have found local providers, you will need to do a bit of research to see which will suit your child best. Below is a brief list of the most popular types of settings:
Pre-schools or Playgroups are for children aged from 2 to 5 years. They generally operate within school terms, so have extended breaks for Christmas, Easter and summer holidays. Opening hours vary however pre-schools generally open from 9am to 3pm; those on school sites may vary opening times according to the start of the school day. Some pre-schools only open mornings. Your 3 or 4 year old child will be able to access their free nursery education entitlement at a participating pre-school. Pre-schools are registered and inspected by Ofsted. Contact Peterborough’s Families Information Service for more information about pre-schools in your area.
Day nurseries are for children aged from birth to 5 years. They generally operate for 51 weeks of the year. Opening hours are usually from 8am to 6pm; however some open early or finish later than this. Your child can attend a day nursery part-time or full-time, and your 3 or 4 year old child will be able to access their nursery education entitlement at participating day nurseries. Day nurseries are registered and inspected by Ofsted. Contact Peterborough’s Families Information Service for more information about day nurseries in your area.
Childminders offer care for children aged from birth to 5 and for school-aged children in the childminder’s own home. They can operate as “teams” with assistants and other childminders. Opening times can be flexible according to parents needs, but are generally similar to day nursery opening times. Childminders frequently offer school drop off and collection services. Not all childminders can offer your 3 or 4 year old child access to their free nursery education entitlement. Only childminders who are part of an accredited network can offer this. Contact Peterborough’s Families Information Service for more information about childminders and network childminders in your area.
Out of school childcare includes breakfast or before school clubs, after school clubs and holiday clubs or playschemes. These childcare options wrap around the school day and are for school-aged children. Contact Peterborough’s Families Information Service for more information about out of school childcare options in your area.
How do I choose?
Entrusting a stranger with your child is a big step, so before you choose a provider you may want to consider the following tips:
- Give yourself plenty of time to choose – holiday playschemes, for example, get booked up in advance
- Ask other parents for recommendations
- Make appointments to visit two or three providers to compare what’s on offer, and get a feel for the staff
- Think about your child’s personality and interests – what environment will they prefer?
- Check opening times, holiday dates and costs