There can be lots of things to consider when choosing the right childcare setting for your child. It’s a good idea to visit as many settings as possible before you make your decision.

If you’re not sure exactly what to check for or ask about when you visit, the following are some examples of what to look for in a good setting...

Is it welcoming?

  • Staff should be friendly and make sure you’re made to feel welcome

Is it a stimulating place for children?

Check for...

  • Visible signs that children are having a stimulating and enjoyable time (e.g. pictures on the wall and happy faces)
  • Challenging and interesting activities being offered, with variety and stimulation
  • Children being encouraged to take part in all activities and to use all equipment
  • Story books being provided for the children

What facilities are provided?

Check for...

  • Lots of suitable toys and play equipment 
  • Access to an outdoor play area
  • How they use television or computer games 
  • What kind of meals/snacks are provided and how nutritional the food is

You might also need to check whether they can...

  • Cater for any special dietary needs 
  • Provide Welsh language learning
  • Provide support for additional needs

Is it a caring environment?

Check that...

  • The facility is flexible about a settling in period for your child
  • You’ll have an opportunity to find out how your child is progressing
  • Your child can be given quiet time by themselves if needed
  • Flexible rest periods are provided
  • There are procedures in place for emergency medical treatment

You might also want to check what toilet training is provided and what happens if your child has an accident.

Staff

Check...

  • The qualifications and experience that the staff have
  • That staff are offered ongoing training
  • That staff get involved in the children’s activities
  • How many carers there are compared to the number of children in the setting
  • That staff show patience and consideration when they talk to the children
  • That staff encourage good behaviour

When considering childminders, ask to see their portfolio and references.

Cost

Check...

  • Whether there is a deposit to pay, and if it can be refunded
  • What the cost is, including what the cost covers (e.g. outings, food, care during holidays)

Other things to check

  • The arrangements for booking
  • The opening hours, and whether they will be suitable for your childcare needs
  • How the day is structured
  • Access and parking facilities
  • Whether trips and outings are offered
  • Whether your child can bring things from home to help them settle