I have seen a lot of debate recently about the pro’s and cons of using a Childminder over a Nursery school.
It is a tough choice to make and every case is different, but if you need help making a decision here is my checklist:
- Hours – If you are a shift or part time worker you may find that a Nursery School is not flexible and you have to pay for full sessions. Most Childminders charge an hourly rate, so you pay for what you use. Some Childminders even offer weekend and overnight care too.
- Cost – In my experience, childminders charge less than Nursery school. However if your child is over 3, they will be funded for 15 hours a week free by the government (term time only)
- Learning – Both Nursery Schools and Childminders have to follow the EYFS learning tools and most Childminders now have, or are working towards, an NVQ in Childcare
- Childminders will have more one on one time with each child as have less numbers. Children will often form a close bond with their fellow mindees too.
- If you have more than one child, with a childminder they will be looked after together. At a nursery they will very often be in separate rooms as the children are divided by age.
So how do you go about finding childcare?
- Check your councils website. Their Early years page should link you to Family Services and they will be able to send you a list of Ofsted registered Childminders / Nursery’s in your area
- Netmums and Mumsnet have ad boards
- Your local Primary Times magazine or Raring2Go magazine will have listings too
- www.Childcare.co.uk is also a good site to use, but don’t pay for the extras
- Word of Mouth
Most of all – look around as many places as you can. You will feel which one is right for you and your child!
Please feel free to comment with any further tips and advice – I would love to know what you think!