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Childcare Services

Choosing Childcare - Questions to Ask

from The National Childcare Campaign - daycare trust

These are just some of the questions you should ask when visiting a childcare provider. You will also need to think about the things that matter to you and your child and make sure you ask about them too.

Vacancies and costs

  • Are there vacancies - is there a waiting list and if so how long?
  • Do you have to pay a deposit? If so, what's it for? Is it returnable?
  • How much does the setting charge per hour/day?
  • Do you have to pay for holidays/meals/nappies/other activities?
  • Do they offer a settling in period? If so, how long for?

Staffing and premises

  • What is the ratio of staff to children? How many children do they care for?
  • Do they operate a key (named) worker system?
  • How will they keep you informed about your child's progress?
  • What opportunities are there for you to be involved?
  • What is staff turnover like?
  • How well qualified are the staff?
  • Are all the criminal records checks up to date?
  • Is there plenty of outdoor space?
  • Can you see a copy of the registration certificates and inspection reports for the setting?

Activities and support

  • What are the daily routines and how can they incorporate your child's and other children's routines?
  • Where can your child sleep or rest?
  • What if your child is unhappy? How would they be looked after?
  • What are their policies on discipline and how do they manage children's behaviour?
  • How will your child's dietary requirements be accommodated?
  • What systems do they have in place if a child has a severe food allergy?
  • How will your child's cultural background be reflected and respected?
  • Are there staff members from different backgrounds? Do they have books and activities representing all cultures? What about food/music/religious festivals?

Emergencies

  • What happens if your child is sick?
  • What happens if you are delayed picking your child up at the end of the day?
  • How will they contact you in an emergency?