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  • "landi" started this thread
  • United Kingdom

Posts: 4,005

Reg: Aug 5th 2008

Children: One gorgeous son born on 28th May 2010

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Saturday, March 7th 2009, 8:18pm


Questions to ask childcare providers

There are so many different child care settings available to parents and sometimes it’s difficult to think what the right questions to ask are.

Below is a list of questions which should cover nannies to nursery to preschools. They may even give you ideas for questions you hadn’t even of thought of.

One thing that you can’t ask about is how the place feels. Your impression of the setting can be useful. Look around are the children happy, smiling and laughing. If they are if gives you a clue to how they feel about the setting.

You will have your own priorities, so chose the ones that are more important to you. These questions will hopefully help you ask the right questions, in order to get all the information you need, to make a good choice.

1. What are your fees?
What do they include?

2. Would my child be entitles to any government funding?

When a child is 3 years old, they are currently entitled to 12.5 hours of free childcare a week. This only applies the term after they are 3 years old.

3. What are your charges for when my child is absent due to sickness or on holiday?
This can be quite common especially on private day care as they have costs to cover.

4. When do I pay and what methods of payment do you accept?
Can you pay monthly or weekly?

Consider direct debit, cheques, and cash.

5. Are there any extra charges if I’m late to collect my child, or forget to bring in spare nappies?
When do they have to be paid?

6. Do I have to pay a deposit?
Is it refundable?

7. My work can give me vouchers to put towards the fees. Do you accept these?

Speak to your employer and see if they offer any kind of voucher scheme. It can mean that some of your wages are put straight into vouchers, and then you don’t have to worry about finding the money to pay your fees.

8. Is there a minimum amount of sessions per week that I have to pay for?
A lot of nurseries have a set minimum of two sessions per week.

9. Do you have any set times when you close the setting throughout the year i.e. staff training? Am I still charged?
In order to give the best care and education for your child, staff will have regular training.

10. Do I get charged if I collect my child early?


11. What qualifications do you staff have?

12. Do the staff have CRB (criminal Record Bureau) checks?
Are new staff allowed to start work without one being completed?

13. Are your staff first aid trained?

There should always be a member of staff on duty who is first Aid trained.

14. What is your staff turnover rate?
If staff leave frequently ask why. However childcare is not well paid and this could be the reason.

15. What are your ratios within your setting?
Legally in nurseries they must be 1 adult to every 3 children aged 0 – 2 years, 1 adult to every 4 children for 2 – 3 years and 1 adult to every 8 children for children aged 3 – 5 years.

16. What types of activities and experiences do you offer?

This should be a complete range from music sessions, to playing outdoors in the rain, to playing with baked beans!

17. What is your routine?
Can you adapt that routine for my baby?

Consider babies on demand feeding and sleeping.

18. How do you decide when a child moves room or area?
Is it based on the age or stage of the child?

If your child is 2 years and 2 months will they be moved to a room for 2 year olds if they are not ready? All settings should include every child and their needs.

19. How do you deal with unwanted behaviour?
Will I be informed if my child ever displays unwanted behaviour?
How do they discipline the child who has bitten, scratched, kicked etc?

20. Is there an area dedicated for children who want or need to have a sleep?

21. What are the procedures for checking on these children?

For babies consider their procedures for when a baby is in a cot i.e. feet to foot, blanket layers, temperature.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) states that children who are sleeping should be checked on regularly. A good basis is that they check every 10 mins.

22. Do you allow the children to watch TV or DVDs?
This is something that you can do at home. Do you want to pay someone for that privilege?

23. Do you allow the children to have comforters?
What happens if my child is just not quite right and they need their comforter during the session?
How would you cope if my child was very distressed?

If your child is distressed their comforter will remind them of home and should bring them a little comfort.

24. What do you do if my child has an accident?
You should be informed when you collect your child and its good practice to give parents a copy of the form or at least details of the accident. For more serious accidents, it would be good if they called you to inform you.

25. Do you give medication if I authorise you to?
Can you give over-the-counter medication and/or prescribed medication?
The EYFS states that a childcare setting can give medication as long as it’s prescribed. Ofsted have said that this can also mean prescribed by the parent i.e. calpol.

26. How do you plan for the children in your care?
It is in accordance with the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)?
The EYFS is statutory for any settings caring for children aged 0 – 5years. The new way of planning for activities within settings is to plan for children individually. This means that your child’s needs and interests are always taken into account. It would not be much use if the planning was for the children to play in the digging area outdoor if your child doesn’t like getting dirty.

27. Do you have an outdoor area?
How often do they have access to it?

Also consider asking if there are any times which the children are not allowed outdoors i.e. rain, snow, lightening and a very sunny day?

28. Are you registered with Ofsted?
When was your last inspection?
Can I have a copy of the report?
Use this link to read the settings latest report
Grade 1 is Outstanding: this aspect of the provision is of exceptionally high quality
Grade 2 is Good: this aspect of the provision is strong
Grade 3 is Satisfactory: this aspect of the provision is sound
Grade 4 is Inadequate: this aspect of the provision is not good enough

29. What insurance do you have?
Can I see the certificate?

All childcare providers should have insurance.

30. Are you a registered childminder?

31. Do you keep records of the children’s development?
What form does that take?

Records of your child’s development should be kept for your child. And you should be able to access then if you want to. You may need to give notice to view them.

32. Do you have any parent’s evenings?

This is a good way to have the sole attention of a staff member to purely discuss the development of your child, even for babies.

33. Am I able to call to check on my child throughout the session?
When you leave your child if they become upset this can be very distressing for you. You may want to call up to see how they are getting on, is that ok?

34. How to you ensure that I am communicated with fully about my child and their time at your setting?
Do you have a daily sheet with information on or do they talk to you?

35. What food and drink do you provide throughout the day i.e. snacks, lunch, tea?

Snacks should include fruit, salad and vegetables and water should be available throughout the day.

36. Do you provide a hot meal?
Where is the food prepared and who by?
What level of food hygiene qualification do they and you hold?
Is that included in the fees or do I have to pay extra?
What do you do if my child has any allergies or intolerances?

Any setting should cater for children with special dietary requirements. They should have a copy of the menu for you to look at.

37. My child doesn’t eat meat, how do you cater for this?
This should not be a problem as again they should cater for all dietary requirements.

38. What will I need to provide for my child when they come in?
Bag, spare clothes?
Do I have to name my child’s spare clothes, coats etc?

39. What is your policy for security/safety of my child?
What happens if my mother collects and I haven’t told you?

Consider what would happen if a total stranger comes to pick up your child. Some settings ask for a password to ensure the safety of the child at all times.

40. Can I access the policies and procedures of the setting?
These will be a huge source of information about the setting and may answer some other questions which you don’t want to ask on your visit.

41. What is your policy for children coming in if they have vomited or/and have diarrhoea?
They health protection guidelines are that a child should be kept off nursery for 48 hours after the last bout of vomit/diarrhoea. Some nurseries will not send child home after 1 or 2 bouts of diarrhoea as that happens sometimes. If it’s a bug then it will happen more than twice in 24 hours.

42. What is your settle-in procedure?
How many visits will my child have?
Do I pay for these?

These are trials for your child to build up a familiarisation with the staff, setting and other children. Some places do charge for this.

43. What are your opening hours?

44. Do you open all year?
Are you open during the school holidays?
What about bank holidays?
And do I pay for them?

Some setting will charge for Bank Holidays as they still have to pay their staff and they need to cover costs.

45. Is there a waiting list?
If so how long is it?
Do I have to pay a fee for putting my child’s name on the list even if I don’t take up the place?

46. What notice do I need to give for leaving the nursery / holidays / changing sessions?

Some settings require written notice.

47. Do you go on any outings?
How far are they?
Are there any extra charges?
What are your ratios of adults to children on outings?

Ideally the ratios should be increased i.e. less children for every adult.

48. How many children can you have in the setting at any one time?
How many do you currently have on your books?

49. Do you take your child minding group to other groups for outings/social experience?

Some childminders have a network of other childminders which they meet up with weekly.

50. Do you use photos / videos of the children?
Where are these used i.e. around the nursery, papers, and staff training?

Consider how they seek your permission to do this. Is it each time or do you sign at the start to say this is ok? These can be very useful they can show you exactly what your child has been doing when they’ve been there.

51. Do you operate a key worker system?
How does that affect my child?

52. If I wanted to stay one day and play with my child is that ok?
Are there opportunities to volunteer?

53. Do you have any referees I can contact?

Useful for nannies and childminders as it will give you a true reflection of their care.


28.05.10 My miracle son Harry was born 5 weeks early, by c-section lurve