There are many types of childcare and almost all children will receive a mix of informal care from parents and relatives, and more formal care in settings and educational establishments.
Family centres and parent or carer toddler groups are aimed at meeting the needs of families and their children, whilst day nurseries, childminders and out-of-school clubs meet children's needs whilst their parent or carer is at work. Many offer the Early Education Funding, including the free childcare for eligible 2 year olds.
The Families Information Service (FIS) Directory provides information about childcare, family centres, activities and more. Families and professionals can contact the FIS team to ask anything about family life for 0-19 year olds (or up to 25 years old for young people with a disability).
Family Centre childcare
Main family centres provide childcare sessions through the free childcare for eligible 2 year olds and early education funding for 3 and 4 year olds.
They also offer support with applying for free childcare.
Childminders offer a home-from-home setting to look after small groups of children. If you're paid to look after children under the age of 8 for more than two hours a day in a domestic setting (such as your own home) then you must register as a childminder.
Childminders that are registered with Ofsted on the Early Years Register must meet the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) requirements. This includes tracking and promoting children’s learning and development.
Childminders can register to be able to offer 2, 3 and 4 year old funding.
Day care, day nurseries and pre-schools
All nursery settings offer professional, registered childcare for children under 5. Nursery schools and pre-schools are usually for children aged between 3 and 5, and day nurseries for children from six weeks to 5 years old.
Nursery schools and day nurseries can be run by local authorities, private businesses, community groups, schools or colleges. They can range in size from having just 15 or so children to up to 150.
Nurseries work within the EYFS statutory framework.
Out of school clubs
Out of school clubs offer childcare usually directly before and after school, but may also offer holiday care as well. They offer a variety of activities such as games, sport, crafts, art and reading.
Children will need to be registered with the group and collected by parents or carers.