Choosing Suitable Childcare

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Monmouthshire Family Information Service is imparitial and can only give you basic information on each Monmouthshire Childcare Provider.  It is up to you to choose the most suitable childcare for you and your family.  When choosing suitable childcare, make sure you ask the questions you want to know so that you can be sure that your child will get the highest quality of care when they are not with you. 
 
Contact as many childcare providers as possible before deciding which one is best for you and your child.  All details of registered and unregistered childcare can be found here. 
 
The following questions may be helpful in considering what you are looking for in a childcare service:
 
Is it welcoming?
Does the childminder/Nursery Manager make your feel welcome?
How much attention does your child receive?
Is she / he made to feel special?
Are the carers / staff helpful?
 
Will your child be stimulated in this environment?
What programme of activities is offered?
Are there visible signs that children are having a stimulating and enjoyable time, for example pictures on the wall, happy faces, etc?
Are activities challenging and interesting?
Is there variety and stimulation?
Are children encouraged to take part in all activities and encouraged to use all equipment?
Will my child have stories? Are there books to look at?
 
What facilities does it have?
Are there lots of suitable toys and play equipment that your child will enjoy playing with?
Is there access to an outdoor play area?
 
What about meals?
If my child has special dietary needs, can these be catered for?
Can the service provide Welsh language provision?
Is there provision for special needs?
 
Is it caring?
Is the facility flexible about a settling in period for my child?
Can I stay with my child to help her / him settle?
Will I have an opportunity to find out how my child is settling and progressing?
Are there any systematic ways of doing this?
Will my child be given quiet time by him / herself if needed?
Are there flexible rest periods?
What procedures are there for emergency medical treatment and first aid?
What about toilet training and what if my child has an accident?
 
What about the staff?
What qualifications do the carers / staff have? (For settings that are registered with Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) there are specific requirements on the level of qualifications staff should have.)
Are carers / staff offered ongoing training?
Do carers / staff get involved in the children’s activities?
How many carers and how many children are there in the facility?
How do staff talk to the children e.g. do they show patience and consideration?
How do staff encourage good behaviour?
When considering childminders, ask to see their portfolio and references.
 
By law, the minimum ratio of staff to children is as follows:
 
Children Under 2 - 1 adult to 3 children
Children aged 2 -3  - 1 adult to 4 children
Children aged 3 - 8 - 1 adult to 8 children
 
Once you have found a childcare service you are happy iwth, try to have a settling in period with a few short visits for your child and yourself.   This will help you both feel more confident and at ease.