Early Education and Childcare
Doncaster Families Information Service (FIS) is the best place to get information about registered childcare providers in the area. We hold up to date lists of Ofsted registered childminders, nurseries, out-of-school and holiday clubs. We can also provide information about unregistered childcare, such as nannies or parent-and-toddler groups.
Finding childcare couldn't be simpler with the our Childcare Finder. Check it out below.Childcare Finder
Types of Childcare
Childminders are self-employed childcare providers who will look after your child in their own home. Childminders are registered with Ofsted, and are inspected by Ofsted at least once in every four year inspection cycle. They may offer full day care or childcare before or after school or during school holidays.
Day nurseries look after and educate children from birth to age 5. There are different types of nurseries, including private, community, local authority and workplace nurseries. All nurseries should be registered and inspected by Ofsted. All nurseries have a designated Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) to co-ordinate provision for children with special needs.
Sessional care provision provides play and education sessions lasting about three hours for children aged 2–5.
Breakfast Clubs and After School Clubs
Breakfast clubs and after school clubs, also called out-of-school clubs, generally provide care for children aged between 4 and 14-years old, but you should check with each individual setting to see if they have their own age limits. Clubs normally run during term time and can offer care around the school day.
Holiday clubs offer similar services to out-of-school clubs, but run during the school holidays. Some can offer a full-day place, but some only operate on a part-time basis and will only be able to offer children care for the morning or afternoon.
School Based Childcare
Such as breakfast clubs, after school clubs and holiday activities offered by schools to their pupils. These facilities can also be searched for by using the FIS Childcare Finder.
Choosing a Childcare Provider
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 choose a childcare provider which best suits the needs of you and your family.
To help you in your decision, you can also take a look at a childcare providers most recent Ofsted inspection report. You can find further helpful information on the Family and Childcare Trust website.
If you’re struggling to find a suitable childcare provider to meet the needs of your family, you can use the childcare brokerage service provided Families Information Service.
The childcare brokerage service provides advice, guidance and practical one-to-one support for families with children and young people aged 0-19 years (up to 24 years if the young person has a disability).
To make a referral to the childcare brokerage service, contact Families Information Service on:
- Freephone: 0800 138 4568
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org - all queries will be responded to within three working days
Raising Concerns About the Quality of Care at a Childcare Provision
If you have concerns about the quality of care offered in a childcare setting, you should raise these with the childcare provider directly. Each childcare provider should have a complaints procedure which you can follow. If you still have concerns about the quality of care provided, you can escalate your concerns to Ofsted.
Help Paying for Childcare
Whether you have toddlers or teens, there are schemes available to help you pay towards the cost of childcare.
Other Help with Childcare Costs
Support While You Study
You may be able to get help with childcare while you study. Schemes include:
- Care to Learn - for learners under 20 who are in school or sixth form.
- Learner Support - for learners over 20 who are accessing further education
- Childcare Grant - for learners who are in full-time higher education
Find out more about help paying for childcare while you study on the Gov.uk website.
You may be able to use your funded childcare hours with another scheme mentioned above, find out more about how the offers interact. If you're unsure which scheme would be right for you, you can use the Gov.uk Childcare Calculator.
Transition is a space in time in which new things happen because of change. We all experience transitions in life and young children will go through a number of changes in their early education such as:
- Home to grandparents
- Home to nursery/childminder
- Home to school
- Nursery/childminder to nursery/childminder
- Nursery/childminder to school
Your role as a parent/carer is important to support children to get ready for these transitions. Some children take transitions in their stride and some children need support. There are many things you can do to help to ensure it is a positive experience.
It is important that your child has the opportunity to access the highest quality provision. As a parent or carer, you may know right away which setting will suit you and your child or you may be very undecided. The following frequently asked questions and answers will support you to make this important decision. The following information has been extracted and influenced by the Scottish Government ‘Parent Zone’.
Transitioning from Home to Nurseries and/or Childminders
When will my child start nursery or childminder?
What do high quality nurseries and childminders do?
They are involved in a wide range of exciting activities which are helping them to develop a curiosity about the world around them. Through rich playful experiences, children are developing early language and early mathematical skills. It is clear that adults in the setting enjoy being part of children’s early learning and development
What is learning through play?
Where will I find a nursery or childminder?
What should I consider when choosing a nursery or childminder?
How can I prepare for a transition visit? What should I look out for during my visit?
- What are the settling in procedures?
- How will I know that my child will be safe and happy?
- Who will look after my child and help him learn?
- What will my child do during the session?
- What activities will my child be involved in?
- What will my child learn about?
- How will I know what my child has been learning?
- What do I need to bring for my child?
- What will my child do during the session?
- Can I stay with my child?
- In what ways can I be involved?
- Can my child come to nursery if he/she is not toilet trained?
- How will the setting support my child when he/she is toilet training?
- How much will it cost me?
The visit: virtual or in person
During your visit to the setting you should see and experience the following:
- a learning environment where children are happy, motivated and engaged in play experiences, including outdoors
- a leader who wants the best for all the children and is very proud of their achievements
- lots of discussion and engagement between children and adults
- children who are curious, and inquisitive and adults support their interests
- good quality materials and resources, including some unusual items that would not be found at home
- confident, knowledgeable, approachable staff who are supportive to children and parents
- staff listening and talking with children, families and staff
- the setting feels and looks safe and secure including a secure entry system
- clear information displayed for parents including a handbook, transition procedures, links with the community and learning opportunities
- children’s art, writing and photographs of activities are on display and everyone is proud of the these achievements.
- the current improvement plan for the setting
- most recent inspection reports available for the setting - you can download and read the latest Ofsted inspection reports here
- parent handbook
- enrolment policy
- transition procedures
- setting website/blog.
Transitioning from a Nursery and/or Childminder to School
How will my child's school help to ensure that transitions go smoothly?
How can I help?
- listen and talk to your child about this change in their lives
- involve your child in getting ready for school by helping choose the things they will need, for example their uniform, lunchbox, schoolbag
- talk to your school if you have questions or concerns
- support staff in getting to know your child, let them know about interests and health issues
- keep in touch with the school about anything that may affect your child's learning
- find out how the school will communicate with you.
- Starting Primary School
- Download (2.45MB - PDF)
How can I find out more about my child's school?
Be prepared with a set of questions covering all the things you and your child want to know about.
Schools will have information to share with you or available on their website, including:
- Contact details – including information on how the school communicates with its parents and how parents can communicate with the school
- Information about opportunities for parents to become involved in the school and in their child's education
- A statement of the school's culture, ethos and values
- Information on curriculum, assessment and reporting
- Arrangements for support for pupils
- School's performance and achievements
- Range of school policies and practical information
Becoming a Childminder
Have you ever thought about becoming a childminder? Would you like some more information about what the job entails and how to become registered? Visit our webpage to find out more about becoming a childminder.
From 30 November 2023, the Government will be offering new childminders, who complete their childminder registration by 31 March 2025, a grant to help with the cost of starting up their childminder business. Find out more about the scheme here.
Downloads & Resources
Display your introduction over featured image?: No