- Where can I find local childcare?
- How do I choose a childcare provider?
- What do I look for in a childcare provider?
- What questions should I ask a childcare provider?
- How will I monitor my child's care?
- What are my different childcare options?
The easiest way to find childcare providers in your area is to use the Newcastle Support Directory. You can filter your search by childcare type for example childminders, pre-school, playgroup, day nursery or out of school care, or by availability, for example part time, full time, term times or after school.
Most nurseries, playgroups and preschools in Newcastle are part of the three and four year old funding programme. Many playgroups and preschools allow children to attend for just the hours in the free entitlement, this normally means your child would be going to preschool or playgroup for five mornings or afternoons a week absolutely free.
You may be wary about trusting a stranger with your child, 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.
If you are unsure what to look for in a provider then the following checklist may help you:
- does the childcare setting have a friendly feel?
- is it clean, light, well ventilated and big enough for children to be active indoors and outdoors?
- are there places where the children can rest?
- are the toys varied (do they differ in size, colour and shape)?
- do the children look happy?
- are the carers talking to the children in a way that interests and encourages them?
- are there plenty of children of your child's age?
- are the provider and carers Ofsted registered?
- are there enough staff to keep an eye on all children?
If you are unsure what questions to ask your chilcare provider you may want to ask some of the following:
- what happens in an emergency?
- are the premises safe?
- what training and experience do the carers have?
- do the carers know first aid?
- what is the staff's view on discipline?
- what activities do you provide?
- what happens if I am late picking up my child?
- is there healthy food provided?
- who can I talk to about my child's progress?
- what happens if my child becomes ill?
Once you have chosen a childcare provider, give them clear information about your child's likes and dislikes and any health issues they may have. After a few weeks, you might want to go back and speak to the provider to find out how your child is getting on. It is also a good idea to talk to your child to make sure they are happy and comfortable with their provider.
Do you need help with the cost of childcare?
There may be funding available depending on your circumstances, for further information click on the link.