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Rutland Information Service

Childcare Choices

As a parent or carer, you know what's best for your child.

The things you and your child do together at home are the most important step in giving them the best start in life.

Care from friends, grandparents and other relatives plays a vital role too.

Early education and childcare can also help your child to get the best start in life, so choosing the right kind of setting for your child is a big decision to make.

These pages are designed to help you make this choice - you can find information about what's on offer locally, help with childcare costs and other support services out there.

An introduction to childcare

Before starting school, children and families can use a wide range of early years services across the county, including:

  • Childminders
  • Playgroups
  • Pre-schools
  • Day Nurseries and Childcare Centres

There's a hugh amount of choice in Rutland, all offering benefits to your child and reassurance and flexibility to you.

You can be confident that your child will be happy and safe, learning and developing through play.

All childcare settings registered with Ofsted deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage, where play is a key way in which young children learn with enjoyment and challenge.

Through indoor and outdoor play, children learn, develop and keep healthy.

The Foundation Stage says that early years settings have to have arrangements in place to support children with special educational needs or disabilities.

If you think your child has a special educational need or disability, or are worried about their development, talk to your early years setting.

You can find out about services for children and young people with special  educational needs and disabilities in the Local Offer part of this site.

 

Childcare choices...

There a lots of different types of early learning and childcare, so you can find an arrangement that meets your needs.

There is no single type of childcare that best suits all families.  Many families use a mixture of early learning and childcare from nurseries, childminders, playgroups, friends and relatives.

Grandparents often play an important role in helping childcare arrangements fit together - for example by looking after children after nursery until their parents finish work.

In Rutland, we have the following types of childcare and early learning services availble for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities:

Nursery Schools: Open during school hours, usually 9.00am to 3.30pm, offering full or half-day sessions. Some offer out-of-school and holiday care.  Many offer 15 hours a week free early learning for three- and four-year-olds.

Nurseries and Childcare Centres: Offer Early Education and Childcare from early in the morning until early evening, usually throughout the year.

Pre Schools and Playgroups : Many offer sessional provision, with some offering full day care, during term time with a small number opening throughout the year, all offer 15 hours a week free early learning for three- and four-year-olds.

Childminders: Usually look after children in the childminder’s home. Most will work early mornings, evenings and weekends – and in the holiday.

Nannies: Come to your home, and will often fit in with non-typical working hours.

Before and After School Clubs: Offer a range of care times both before school and after school.

Holiday Childcare: Some settings also provide care during the holidays, individual arrangements to use free entitlement can be arranged – speak to the setting manager or room leader. 

Parent and Toddler Groups: Tend to be drop-in sessions for parents that have young children. These sessions will be run by other parents, by the voluntary sector or in Children’s Centres. They will not be registered with Ofsted, as they provide less than two hours worth of care in a day.

Private Nursery Schools - Are owned privately and can offer sessional or full day care to children aged two to five. Some schools can offer a particular educational approach, for example Montessori. They may operate only during term-time or could open all year. They could be registered with Ofsted.

Unregistered Childcare:  offer a range of activities for children. 

All Ofsted registered services have to follow the Early Years Foundation Stage.

The Foundation Stage says that early years settings have to have arrangements in place to support children with special educational needs or disabilities.

If you think your child has a special educational need or disability, or are worried about their development, talk to your early years setting.

 

There are many providers of early learning and childcare for children up to the age of five,

Opening hours can be from 7am to 7pm, though this varies. Your child can attend full or part-time.

 

What standards should I expect from my childcare provider?

 You should expect that your childcare provider has checked that:

  • anyone working with your child should have undergone security checks
  • the equipment and facilities are suitable and safe for your child
  • the environment is of a good equality e.g. having access to an outdoor space

You can also look at the Local Authority Quality Assessment

How can I check the quality of the childcare provider?

You can ask a childcare provider for their Ofsted unique registration number (URN).

You can then check their
Ofsted registration.

Five essentials when choosing childcare

  1. Research your options. Contact your local Families Information Service or Local Offer to find out the full range in  your   area. 
  2. Make sure that the childcare is high-quality. Take a list of questions and don’t be afraid to use them
  3. Find out if the provider is registered with Ofsted (Ofsted link ) and whether they’ve been inspected recently
  4. Ask other mums and dads about what’s worked for them. And go with what you think best – you know your child
  5. Think about what best suits your child; where would they thrive? Take your child with you to see how they get on with the staff and surroundings

Tips for settling your child into Early Education and Chid Care

  • Take your child along before leaving them. Then, if you can, start by leaving your child for, say, half an hour, and build up to longer periods.
  • Even when you’re there, let the child-minder or key worker take charge so your child gets used to them.
  • When you leave, reassure your child that you’ll be coming back and then say goodbye rather than slipping away or looking sad – go with a smile and a wave.
  • Always be happy about the day ahead: your child will pick up on your mood.
  • It’s usual to feel nervous.  But remember that babies and young children are never confused about who their parents are, and outside influences can be very positive
  • With older children, tell them when you’ll be back.
  • Let your child take a special toy or blanket if it may make them feel more comfortable.

Safeguarding

Children learn best when they are healthy, safe and secure, when their individual needs are met, and when they have positive relationships with the adults caring for them. The safeguarding and welfare requirements, are designed to help providers create high quality settings which are welcoming, safe and stimulating, and where children are able to enjoy learning and grow in confidence.

If you have concerns about a child or a setting please contact Rutland County Council 01572 722577 or http://lrsb.org.uk/

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