What to look for

What to look for when choosing your early years setting:

  • Are both parents and children made to feel welcome?
  • Are you encouraged to stay and make sure your child is happy and settled?
  • Are there enough staff to meet the needs of all the children? Recommended staff ratios should be:
    1:3 for babies
    0-2 years
    1:4 for children
    2-3 years
    1:8 for children
    3-12 years
  • Is the group registered with Health and Social Services?
  • Is the certificate of registration displayed?
  • Is the group insured? Is the certificate displayed?
  • Are staff qualified and trained in childcare?
  • Are they trained in first aid?
  • Is there a first aid kit?
  • Are the premises warm, clean and inviting?
  • Are changing and feeding facilities for babies provided?
  • Are written policies and procedures available to read?
  • Is there a parent's notice board?
  • How will you be contacted in an emergency?
  • Is the group an Early Years member and working towards a quality accreditation scheme?

Try and give yourself enough time to visit several possible options in your area to get a good idea of what could suit your child. Don't forget you are the expert on your child and trust your feelings. It can be a good idea to take your child with you to see how staff talks to them. Try to go when children are there so you can see if they are calm, happy and busy.

Good luck and remember; most parents find that choosing childcare is a difficult process, both practically and emotionally. Being prepared will at least get you off to a good start.

For further information on childcare in your area, contact Early Years on 028 9066 2825 or your local Health and Social Services Trust Early Years Team.

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