Choosing Childcare

Choosing childcare for you child can be a daunting decision- there are so many different options available it's hard to know what to choose.  So what are some of the options?
  • A Nanny/Au Pair- not always an option for a lot of families, depending upon financial circumstances. A Nanny/Au Pair works within your home, taking care of your child/ren in the home environment.  They can live in the house, or live elsewhere depending upon your needs/circumstances and that of the Nanny/Au Pair.  This has the advantage of allowing your child to stay in a familiar environment while they were being cared for.  In the UK no formal qualifications or training are required to become a nanny, although a number of them will hold a Level 3 relevant qualification.
  • A childminder- someone who cares for your child in their home, and may care for several others of varying ages at the same time.  In the UK there are more laws governing childminders than Nannies.  All childminders in England are legally required to register with OFSTED on the Early Years register (if providing care for children under the age of five), and the Compulsory part of the General Childcare Register (if providing care for children aged between five and eight years old).  Childminders do not have to be registered if they are only providing care for children over the age of eight.  Childminders in Wales are required to register with the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW). The registrations requirements are nearly identical to those in England.
    Childminders in Scotland are required to register with the Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS) In Northern Ireland, the Health & Social Services Trusts. are the relevant authority for the Inspection and Regulation of Childminders.
  • Nurseries-children are cared for on non-domestic premises alongside a range of children, and are grouped according to age.  Nurseries in England also have to be registered with Ofsted, and are regularly inspected.  The age in which children are accepted into a Nursery varies from provider to provider- I have seen some that will accept children as young as 5/6 weeks, and others that start at a few months old.  50% of Nursery staff must hold a Level 3 (or higher) qualification, and some Nurseries will also have a graduate with a  relevant degree working with them.
There are various advantages and disadvantages to each childcare method, and some people may choose a 4th option I haven't mentioned yet- grandparent care!  Hopefully this gives some idea of what is available out there, and I'm planning another post about choosing the right nursery.  (You lucky lucky people!)

Which childcare option do you currently use?


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Welcome to my blog. I'm Sarah a 30-something Nursery Officer, formerly a Primary School teacher, based in Leicester.