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Choosing From The Childcare On Offer

Your local Children’s Information Service(0800 960 996) will have details of registered pre-school providers.

OFSTED registers and inspects childcare providers. You can look at the reports at www.ofsted.gov.uk. It’s also worth talking to other parents you know or might have met in parents’ groups. They might already have experience of pre-school facilities in your area and can often give personal recommendations.

Local Sure Start centres may have bilingual workers who can visit you in your own home to help you work out what you and your child need in terms of childcare.

From 2008 if you have a child under 15 (17 if your child is disabled), you will be able to get help finding childcare so that you can work. Local authorities will be responsible for making childcare available to parents who need it.

How do I decide?

You know your child best so you’ll know what suits his/her personality and what works for your own circumstances. It’s a good idea to visit potential pre-school providers. Do this at a time when children are being looked after. This will give you a good idea of what the facilities are, what activities take place, how engaged and positive the children seem, what kind of stimulation there is for them in terms of books and games etc., what they eat and what you’ll have to pay, if anything. If you take your child with you, you’ll get an idea of how he/she is likely to fit in and how he/she reacts to the staff, surroundings and other children. Check the facilities for outdoor play to see how safe and secure they are. Go back for another visit if you need to. You might find that a combination of options suits you best.