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Choosing an early education or childcare provider

It is important to think about what you and your child need when looking for an early education and childcare provider.

Early education and childcare providers are used to being asked questions and will be happy to answer any you may have before or after you have contacted them for a chat or a visit.

The questions below have been designed as an example of things you might want to consider; you might have different or additional questions you wish to ask. 

Would I prefer childcare close to my home, work or school?

  • How will I pick up and drop off my children
  • What hours do I need childcare and are they regular
  • What is best for my child’s emotional and physical needs, as well as social and educational development
  • Will I need childcare during the school holidays?
  • Would I prefer a home from home environment or a setting environment?
  • How much access would I like my child to have to the outside environment?
  • What is my childcare budget/will I need to pay a deposit?  Have you completed the childcare calculator?

When I go for a visit to the childcare provider what should I look out for?

When I go for a visit to the childcare provider what should I look out for?

  • Did staff welcome you to the provision and get you to sign in?
  • Is the environment clean and free from risk?
  • Do the children look happy and engaged with their practitioners and the activities and having fun?
  • Are there enough staff available to support the children?  Ask about the number of adults needed to care for the children, this is known as ratios.
  • Are there suitable places for the children to rest?
  • How will you be told how your child is progressing? 

Who can deliver free funded early education and childcare places?

20 maintained schools with nurseries and more than 150 preschools, day nurseries, independent schools with nursery classes and Childminders are able to offer flexible early education and childcare places for two, three and four year olds in the Havering 

Childcare Choices - A tool to help parents find the best childcare funding

Childcare Choices brings together all the government childcare offers for the first time, helping parents find the right childcare support to suit them.  The Childcare Choices website provides information on the new and existing Government childcare offers including:

  • 15 hours free childcare for 2 year olds
  • 15 hours free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds
  • 30 hours free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds
  • Tax Free Childcare for children under the age of 12 (or under 17 if disabled)
  • Tax Credits for childcare for children aged under the age of 16 (or under 17 if disabled)
  • Universal Credit for childcare birth to for children aged under the age of 16
  • Childcare Vouchers for children aged under the age of 16 (or under 17 if disabled)
  • Support for parents while they study: Care to Learn, Discretionary Learner Support and Childcare Grant - see links to the right of this page for further information.
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