Help choosing a childcare provider

Use this guide to help you when choosing a childcare provider.

Things to look out for

When you visit a childcare provider, you may want to check:

  • if the setting is welcoming and friendly
  • if there is enough room for your child to be active indoors and out
  • how the setting is arranged - is there a quiet area and a room for messy play, for example?
  • if it is safe, clean and secure
  • whether you see staff listening, talking and interacting appropriately with the children and with each other
  • whether the staff welcome your questions
  • whether the staff are enthusiastic about your child attending their setting
  • whether the staff appear to value your knowledge of your child
  • how interested the children are in the activities and equipment available.

Children with additional needs

If your child has additional needs and/or special educational needs, you should ask:

  • about staff qualifications
  • how they'll prepare for your child going to their new school or room
  • what plans they have for emergencies
  • how play activities will be adapted
  • how many children there are to each member of staff
  • who is supervising and how they’re doing it
  • how you'll get updates on what your child has done, enjoyed and learnt and how you should raise concerns
  • if the equipment is varied, high-quality and creative
  • how they promote positive behaviour
  • how you’ll find out about your child's day and what they enjoyed and learnt
  • what food they give the children for lunch and snacks
  • how they work with other professionals who might work with your child.