Wrexham Family Information Service can provide you with information to help you make the best choice for you and your child. There are many different childcare options for you and your family to choose from and these may change over the years as your needs change.
All childcare provided for more than 2 hours a day for children up to the age of 12 must be registered by Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW).
Types of registered childcare include:
Registered childminders are day care providers who work in their own homes caring for children. They are based in the community, which means that children can go to local playgroups/cylchoedd meithrin, parent and toddler groups, clubs or visit friends.
Childminders are responsible for your child’s safety as well as their emotional and physical development. They should provide a mix of play and learning experiences inside and outside the home. All childminders must be registered and inspected by Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW), who will check on their suitability, their home and everyone over the age of 16 living in the house.
Childminders must have a registration certificate issued by CSSIW and a public liability insurance certificate.
Childminders are self-employed and set their own fee. They can offer flexible childcare, year round, full-time or part-time and outside school hours. They can look after up to 10 children of various ages at the same time and can therefore care for brothers and sisters together.
Day Nurseries provide registered early education and childcare for young children from birth to age 5. They usually open from early morning to early evening, Monday to Friday, (some on Saturdays) all year round. They offer a caring, safe, stimulating environment either as full day care or part-time care for babies and pre-school children. Some may also provide care before and after school and in the holidays for children aged 4 to 7 and sometimes older children too.
Day Nurseries must be registered and inspected by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) and hold a registration certificate issued by CSSIW. They must also have a public liability insurance certificate and the appropriate food hygiene certificate. Fees will vary. Support with costs may be available from tax credits, childcare vouchers and free part-time places for 3 year olds.
Most Day Nurseries have facilities to prepare food and snacks for the children in their care. They should produce at least a 3 week menu of quality food and provide snacks appropriate to the length of day the child attends.
Playgroups cater mainly for children age 2 ½ years to 5, usually for 2 to 3 hours in the morning or afternoon and mainly during term time. They offer a safe and stimulating environment where children play, learn and socialise with each other. Parents and carers are active in running playgroups and often join their management committees. Cylchoedd Meithrin are Welsh-medium playgroups which give children an opportunity to learn through play. Children from non-Welsh speaking families are welcome to attend Cylchoedd Meithrin and are able to benefit by becoming bilingual.
Playgroup Plus is often referred to as ‘Wraparound care’, and is offered by some providers as an extension to playgroup, cylch meithrin or Local Authority Nursery provision and provides care for the other half of the school day. Groups may operate for up to 4 hours.
Out of school childcare clubs run before and after school and in the holidays, and may be based at the school or in a community setting such as a sports centre. Where appropriate, clubs are registered and inspected by CSSIW and qualified or trained play staff supervise children until they are collected by their parents or carers.
Out of school clubs based in schools often have spaces for pupils from other schools as well as their own. If your child’s school does not have an out of school club it may be worth contacting another local club and asking if they are able to accommodate your child.
Types of unregistered childcare include:
Toddler groups are not required to register with CSSIW as parents or carers must stay with their children while attending. Sessions allow children to mix with others and enjoy a variety of activities. Despite their name, groups aren’t just for toddlers – groups are often attended by a range of children from newborns to pre-schoolers.
Cylchoedd ti a fi enable parents and carers to play alongside their children and socialise in an informal Welsh setting. Non-Welsh speaking parents are welcome to attend and are encouraged to learn Welsh with their children by enjoying basic stories, songs and nursery rhymes.
Other groups which may be available locally for babies and toddlers include baby massage, story time, swimming groups, music and movement.
Nannies look after children in the family home. They are not currently regulated and do not have to register with CSSIW unless they work for more than 2 families. Nannies can register under the Childcare Approval Scheme Wales to become an approved childcare worker, allowing the families that they work for to claim the Childcare Element of the Working Tax Credit or Childcare Vouchers.
As an extra precaution, you can check if your nanny is approved by the Childcare Approval Scheme Wales. To be accepted on the scheme, every nanny has to be fully qualified in childcare and trained in first aid. They will also have been subject to a DBS check to establish their suitability for working with children. www.cssiw.org.uk
Au Pairs are usually foreign students aged 17-27 years. They do not generally have childcare qualifications, so they should not have sole charge of pre-school children. Au Pairs live as members of the family to learn English. They can work in the home for up to 5 hours per day in return for a room, an allowance and 2 full days off per week.
Babysitters typically look after children while parents go out for an evening or afternoon. There is no legal minimum age, but the NSPCC says they should be older than 16. If use a babysitter under 16 and the child is injured in their care, you may be held responsible. So, choose babysitters carefully and ask for references if you do not know the person well.
Choosing the Right Setting for Your Child
You should visit as many settings as possible before you decide which one is right for you and your child.
Consider the following questions when visiting settings with your child:
Is it welcoming?
- Are you made to feel welcome?
- How much attention does my child receive? Is she made to feel special?
- Are the staff helpful?
Is it a stimulating place for children?
- Are there visible signs that children are having a stimulating and enjoyable time, for example pictures on the wall and happy faces?
- What programme of activities is offered? Is there variety and stimulation? Are activities challenging and interesting?
- Are girls and boys encouraged to take part in all activities and encouraged to use all equipment?
- Will my child have stories? Are there books to look at?
What facilities does it have?
- Are there lots of suitable toys and play equipment?
- Is there access to an outdoor play area?
- What use is made of television of computer games?
- What about meals? If my child has special dietary needs, can these be catered for?
- Can the service provide Welsh language provision?
- Is there provision for additional needs?
Is it caring?
- Is the facility flexible about a settling in period for my child?
- Will I have an opportunity to find out how my child is progressing?
- Will my child be given quiet time by herself if needed?
- Are there flexible rest periods?
- What procedures are there for emergency medical treatment?
- What about toilet training and what if my child has an accident?
What about the staff?
- What qualifications do the staff have?
- Are staff offered ongoing training?
- Do staff get involved in the children’s activities?
- How many carers and many children are there in the setting?
- How do staff talk to the children? Do they show patience and consideration?
- How do staff encourage good behaviour?
- When considering childminders, ask to see their portfolio and references
Other questions to ask
- How is the day structured?
- Are there trips and outings?
- What are the arrangements for booking?
- Can my child bring things from home to help her settle?
- What are the access and parking facilities?
- Is there a deposit to pay, and will it be refunded?
- How much will the childcare cost? What will the cost cover e.g. outings, food, care during holidays etc
Always make sure that childcare settings are registered with CSSIW. It is possible to view a setting’s CSSIW report through the CSSIW website.