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Making that big decision on early year’s childcare

Do I choose a Childminder or a Children’s Day Nursery?

What’s the best to use when considering your childcare, a Childminder or a Children’s Day Nursery?  It’s the dilemma some parents struggle with when considering early years childcare. After all childminders have to be registered with OFSTED just the same as Children’s Day Nurseries, so what’s the difference?  In truth there are many good childminders out there, as there are Children’s Day Nurseries, hence you have to do your own research.  Let’s be honest, some childminders are better than others and some Children’s Day Nurseries are better than others. So why is it that the vast majority of people choose Children’s Day Nurseries as opposed to Childminders?

There are possibly many reasons, but arguably the three biggest reasons could be accountability and the ability for their child to make many new friends and staff illness:

  • Accountability in the sense we are referring to means safeguarding accountability. In a Children’s Day Nursery such as Acre Wood Day Nursery there is numerous staff. Our staff are instructed to report any misbehaviour should it occur. They all know the legal implications of keeping quiet if wrong doing is occurring. Why should one member of staff take the blame for someone else’s failures  or wrong doing, especially with the child abuse  laws being so strict in this country; this ultimately is the first line of protection for children in a Day Nursery. Add to this many nurseries (including Acre Wood Day Nursery) have installed CCTV; Acre Wood has 12 cameras recording continually. Then there’s the parents themselves. Parents come and go at different times and this means there is often a parent on the premises. It’s reasonable to assume any parent who witnessed wrong doing would report the matter to OFSTED. This is a big line of defence for vulnerable young children.  Professionals such as the Early Years team (Central Bedfordshire Council), the Environmental Health Inspector and other health professionals visit nurseries like Acre Wood frequently.  This adds a further degree of potential accountability or put another way more safeguarding accountability. After all no Professional is likely to sit back and remain quiet if they witnessed wrong doing.  Then add to all this the fact that Children’s Day Nurseries are subject to unannounced OFSTED inspections. OFSTED literally turns up at nurseries without prior notice and carries out inspections there and then. To achieve an OFSTED standard  of “GOOD” in all areas of inspection for many years, (which is what Acre Wood Day Nursery has achieved since June 2006) under unannounced inspection conditions is another level of accountability
  • Now we look at the question of your child making friends. As we said at the beginning, there are many good quality childminders out there and the better ones will in all probability try to engage your child in play with other children. At Acre Wood it’s guaranteed. Your child will spend their time playing with other children; they can’t help but meet other children.  A great deal of these children will probably start main stream school at the same as your child and in the majority of cases it will be the very same school.
  • What happens if your childminder is ill? It’s a dilemma that needs to be thought about. If the childminders ill who will look after your child? In all probability you will need to plan for this in advance or be prepared to take time off from work yourself.  When it comes to Children’s Day Nurseries that are of the standard of Acre Wood Day Nursery you really don’t need to worry about this problem. We employ enough staff to cope and remain legal when it comes to childcare staffing ratios.

Ultimately the choice is yours, but remember when choosing your childcare you will be leaving your most precious child with people you may never have met before, so you need to get it right, Childminders or Children’s Day Nurseries……. it is your decision.