Finding the right childcare provider for your family can sometimes be a difficult task and there are lots of options to choose from. Families Information Service have written a short guide to help you find a childcare provider which best suits the needs of you and your family.

There are a range of childcare providers available to choose from such as a childminder, day nursery or out of school club; you can read about the different types on our early education and childcare page.

Think about the needs of you and your family

Make a list of the most important things you need a childcare provider to offer, this will help narrow down to providers who are best suited for your family.

Things you may need to consider:

  • Do you need a childcare provider who can collect from a particular school?
  • Do you need a childcare provider who can accommodate shift patterns?
  • Do you need a childcare provider who can offer 1:1 support for your child?
  • Do you need a childcare provider who is registered to deliver funded places for 2, 3 & 4 year olds?

Use the FIS website to search for childcare providers in your area

Doncaster Families Information Service (FIS) hold information on all Ofsted registered childcare providers in the area. The website contains a really easy to use search facility which lets you search for childcare close to your home or your place of work -- wherever is convenient. If you are struggling to find childcare you can email the team or call them on 01302 735237 to request a personalised childcare list which suits your family's needs.

Shortlist the providers and arrange visits

Once you have a list of providers who can accommodate your needs, you should choose a handful of settings to visit, even if you already have your heart set on a particular setting. Visiting multiple providers gives you a chance to see how things work in different settings; you may also come across a setting which have facilities that you hadn't previously considered.

What to look for:

  • Clean, safe and friendly setting
  • Experienced and trained staff who you think would work well with your child
  • Planned exercise, activities and quite times
  • Children who seem happy and are involved in interesting activities

Top tip: Visit the settings as many times as you feel necessary; you may wish to visit at different times of the day to get a better idea of the settings routines.

Ask questions during the visits

You might want to prepare a list of questions before you visit. For example:

  • What qualifications and experience do you have?
  • What are the daily routines for the children?
  • Where is the sleeping space for the child during the day?
  • What is the ratio of staff to children? How many children do you care for?
  • Do you provide meals, snacks and nappies or will I need to provide them?
  • How the setting supports children with special educational needs and disabilities?

Pacey have put together a fantastic list of questions to ask which they broken down by the type of childcare provider.

Top tip: Don't worry it you forget to ask a question, you can always call the setting to ask later on.

Check credentials and ask for references

Once you have visited a few providers and found one that you think you are happy with you should check that standards are being met and children are safe. You can do this by reading their most recent Ofsted inspection report online - you will need their URN (unique reference number) to search for them; this can be found on the FIS website or in your childcare list. You can ask to see their DBS checks, valid first aid certificate, certificate of registration and public liability insurance should be displayed. For extra peace of mind you can also ask for references.

Enrol your child

Once you are satisfied that you have found the right childcare provider, you can contact the provider to enrol your child. You will need to agree session days and times with the provider, amongst other things.

Last updated: 19 February 2024 16:05:51

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