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What to expect from childcare

When your child starts at any Ofsted Registered childcare provider, they'll be appointed a key person, who will be responsible for supporting their needs and planning their activities. The key person will keep a daily record of your child’s progress, which will be shared with you on a regular basis. You can chat to your child's keyworker or if they are not available, the manager of the childcare setting your child attends to discuss any worries or concerns you have about your child's development and to talk through what support the childcare provider can provide to help meet your child's needs. As childminders tend to operate on their own, they would be the key contact for this type of information.

Trained or experienced staff

Working with children is a skilled and demanding job. Training gives people skills and confidence. It helps staff to deliver a top-quality service to your family. Many excellent childcare staff don’t have formal qualifications but lots of experience and enthusiasm.

Staff need to:

  • respond to your child as an individual
  • plan activities and play to help your child learn
  • help your child be safe and secure
  • communicate well with your child and with you
  • respect your family’s culture, religion or language
  • be enthusiastic about their important job

Safe and clean premises

Children deserve comfortable, well-equipped premises which are carefully looked after. Children should be able to see toys, books and fun equipment and reach some of it themselves. Fresh, healthy food and snacks should be available. Equipment for children with disabilities is likely to be popular with all the children. When children are asked what they like best about childcare, they often talk about their friends and the garden or outside space.

Your child should be in a place which is:

  • bright and cheerful
  • clean
  • friendly for children with some child-sized equipment

Fun activities planned each day

When children feel safe and happy they are learning all the time. All children learn at different rates and so activities need to be planned with the needs of each child in mind. Childcare staff should plan the day’s activities before children arrive. Children enjoy making friends with other children. This is much easier if children attend the childcare service regularly and know who and what to expect each day. Make sure the childcare you choose provides plenty of encouragement for your child whatever their age, gender or abilities. This is because children pick up ideas about stereotyping from a very young age.

A big welcome for you and your child

When you visit your childcare service, you and your child should feel welcome. Staff should find time to listen to you when you want to ask questions. They should answer any questions you have about the childcare service or about your child.

Think about how your childcare service will:

  • include you in planning your child’s care
  • help your child’s routine - sleep, food, any special needs
  • fit in with your ideas on discipline, sweets, toilet training
  • encourage your child to feel happy and confident whatever their ability, race, culture, language or gender
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