Types of childcare
There are many options for childcare in Medway, so if you’re a parent returning to work there are different options to consider.
A childminders will care for a small group of children in their own home. Childminders can set their own working hours and many work early mornings, evenings, weekends and some are also registered to look after children overnight.
All childminders are inspected and registered by Ofsted if they take care of children up to 8 years old. All adults (aged 16 or over) living or working in the childminder’s home will be police checked.
Day nurseries offer care, play and some education for children under 5. Nurseries can be private, community or council run and must be inspected by Ofsted.
All day nurseries offer part-time and full day care, Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm.
Holiday playschemes offer care and play for children aged 4 to 16 outside of school term-time. They offer daily activities for children, play areas and quiet areas with the chance for special events to be arranged.
Some playschemes are designed for children with special need but many play schemes are also suitable for children with disabilities.
Playschemes for children under 8 must be inspected and registered by Ofsted.
Nannies and au pairs
Nannies are hired by families to care for children in the family home. They can live in or out of the home and often have qualifications in childcare.
Au pairs are usually from abroad and often come to study English and live with a family to help out. They are not registered with Ofsted so they are a better option to look after children for after-school care but not for babies.
School nursery classes offer early education are care for children 3 years or older as part of primary school and are also called Foundation Stage Units.
Nursery classes are free from academies or free schools but may be charged for at independent schools.
Preschools and playgroups
Preschools can help with a child’s development and early experiences for children aged 2 to 5 and are often part-time only, in the morning or afternoon for a few hours.
Preschools and playgrounds must be inspected and registered by Ofsted.
Baby and toddler classes
Baby and toddler groups allow children to play and learn with other children. This helps children learn social skills and gain confidence which gets them ready for regular daycare.