Do you have doubts or worries? Unanswered questions? Hopefully we can answer a few of these here
Without a doubt, spending quality time with parents and family is the best thing for a child. However, sometimes this is not possible 24 hours a day, and indeed it has been proven that spending a few hours a week away from a parent in a group environment with other children is beneficial to both the parent and child.
Systems are in place to ensure that the care your child receives from registered childcare settings is of the best quality. Every setting has to be registered and inspected regularly by the CSSIW (Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales), as well as with Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, and each member of staff will have to be suitably qualified and trained as well as background checked via the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service – formerly CRB) every three years.
It’s a great idea to ask other parents who send their children to childcare for recommendations, and don’t feel shy about paying visits to the places you are interested in. All good settings will welcome this, and will be very happy to discuss any queries you may have. Settings usually offer free taster sessions so that both you and your child can see if you are happy with their setting.
Here’s a great list from Netmums about how to spot a good nursery/childcare setting - http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a541470/signs-of-a-good-day-nursery
Check to see if you are in a Flying Start area, which will mean you qualify for free childcare for your 2-3 year olds.
You could also get help with childcare costs via Tax Credits or Vouchers via an employer. You don’t have to be working to claim Child Tax Credits but if you do you can also claim the Working Tax Credit.
Good to know - in 2017 there will be a new Tax Free Childcare scheme launched to replace vouchers, where you can get 20p for every 80p paid for by the Government. HERE’s a great guide to the new scheme.
Remember, ALL children can access 10 hours of free nursery education from the term after their third birthday. This can be at a school nursery, or with a registered education provider.
It’s worth noting that Welsh Government are considering increasing this to 30 hours per week in the future, if you would like a say in how this offer is developed you can share your ideas online here.
Sessional care at a Playgroup, Cylch Meithrin, – These settings provide amazing value for money. Sessions are normally in 2/2.5 hour slots (morning or afternoon), and will often cost less than £10 per session.
In all registered childcare settings, including nurseries and childminders, there are set ratios of staff to children, and this varies depending on the age of the child.
Every non-maintained setting will allocate a key worker to support your child. You and your child will get to know this key worker, and you will be able to ask questions and discuss any issues you may have with them. If there is an identified need, they will develop an individual plan for your child, based on their unique needs, and you will usually be encouraged to be involved in how that plan is developed.
It’s common to think that using childcare is a solution for working parents, but many of those who don’t work are now accessing settings, even if it’s only for a few hours a week.
Why would they do this? There are various reasons including –
Wanting their child to have the opportunity to interact with other children and adults. Many have witnessed their one and two year old children “absolutely thriving” from this interaction, even when they are quite shy.
Toddlers can learn a lot from each other. One mother, on an online forum said of her three year old - “There are some things that children just won’t learn as easily without seeing their peers do it too. Since she went to school, her speech has improved immensely, potty training is over finally, and her confidence all around has improved.”
It is no secret that young children appreciate routine and structure. Most quality childcare settings will have a structure to every day, and once the child experiences a routine such as, circle time, snack time, outdoor provision, they are often more ready to learn.
‘Me time’ – there is no shame in admitting that sometimes, we need a break from our children (and often they need a break from us parents!). One parent describes herself as a “better, more patient mam having had some time to myself, even if it is time spent doing housework or doing the food shop. Sometimes I’ll just have a coffee by myself or with friends. I feel rested and happy by the time I pick him up from nursery, and he’s had a great time playing with other children. It’s a win-win situation for both of us.”
When he’s here, he’s always smiling, laughing, it’s really brought him out of his shell…when he first came here he wasn’t speaking, he had no language at all and we were questioning a developmental delay, but now he’s been coming for a period of time his development has now actually overshot his age range and I am certain it’s just from attending TrinityAaron, Gwyn’s dad, Trinity Child and Family Centre Day Care - Aberfan
It’s the little things, not just education wise, the children know how to share, they know how to take turns, they know how to sit and listen, and know how to treat each other kind…The staff are lovely…I know that the kids will be safe with themLaura, a mam at Ysgol Feithrin Twyn Carmel
If my needs change, then I know that they would be able to change to work around meBeth, Olivia’s mother, Funtazia Day Nursery, Pentrebach
Since starting in Funtazia, Skylar has come on in leaps and bounds.she was born 5 weeks early, and we were told that she would have a slower rate of development. But what we’ve seen is she’s doing well academically as well as socially which we think is all down to the staff hereDavid, Skylar’s dad, Funtazia Day Nursery