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Childcare Options

Using childcare can bring many benefits for children’s development, learning, play and social skills. For parents and carers, using good quality childcare means your children are well looked after and beginning their learning, whilst you get the opportunity to return to work, train, or just have a break.

When it comes to childcare for a child with additional needs or a disability a lot of the considerations are the same as for any other child. However there are a few extra things to think about, such as carers with specialist training or how a child's medical needs will be supported.

Whilst some childcare settings provide specialist services for disabled children (e.g., Windmill, Greenfields, South Acton Children’s Centres), all should welcome and include disabled children by making 'reasonable adjustments' as per the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.  This is further supported by a number of Inclusion Funding Programmes such as Early Years Inclusion Funding and Early Years Disability Access Fund.  These funds help Early Years settings better support children with additional needs through increased staff training on SEN, an increased number of staff per child, and specialist equipment.

All childcare providers listed on our directory are registered with Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) and are regulated carefully and awarded grades that tell you how well they are achieving for the children in their care in terms of the children’s learning and development.  You can check a childcare provider’s Ofsted rating online at reports.ofsted.gov.uk.  All Ofsted registered Early Years providers (childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes) must follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).  These are set standards for the learning, development and care of your child from birth to 5 years old.  The EYFS only applies to schools and Early Years providers in England.  

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS): Areas of Learning

Your child will mostly be taught through games and play.

The areas of learning are:

  • Communication and language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, social and emotional development
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design

The Family Information Service can help you in finding the right childcare provider for your child and circumstances. They can also help you understand about help with childcare costs.

3 & 4 Year Old Funding and  30 Hour Offer

2 Year Old Childcare

Tax Free Childcare

Families with additional needs or more complex needs can access our brokerage service and obtain more bespoke advice and support in accessing appropriate childcare that meets the needs of their child.  A dedicated Special Educational Needs (SEND) Officer can:

  • Identify and provide you with shortlists of childcare providers with particular experience in certain aspects of special educational needs
  • Arrange parent-childcare provider interviews
  • Help you devise a tailored list of questions unique to your child’s needs when interviewing potential childcare providers

Please give the Family Information Service a call 020 8825 5588 (Mon-Fri, 9am to 5pm) or drop them an email children@ealing.gov.uk

Childminders

Childminders are professional childcare providers/carers who work in their own homes to provide care and learning opportunities for children. They are self-employed and can decide their own working hours. Most childminders offer care between the hours of 8am – 6pm although some offer their service at weekends and at other times by arrangement. All professional childminders must be registered and inspected by Ofsted.

Childminders are a good solution if your working day doesn’t fit the 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday pattern or if you have children of different ages and needs and you want them to be looked after together. You may also want your child to be cared for in a home environment by just one person.

List of Ofsted registered childminders:

www.ealingfamiliesdirectory.org.uk/Childminders

Day Nursery

A nursery looks after and educates children under the age of five (pre-school). Nurseries are usually open throughout the working day and some are open later into the evening and at weekends. There are different types of nurseries including private, community, council and workplace nurseries, however all nurseries must be registered and inspected by Ofsted

List of Ofsted registered nurseries

www.ealingfamiliesdirectory.org.uk/Nurseries

Nursery School

School nurseries are nursery classes linked to or within schools. At present they offer half-day sessions to children aged three and four in preparation for school. Please note that attending a nursery class at a specific school does not guarantee a place at that school.

Preschool Playgroup

Playgroups offer a range of stimulating activities for children that encourage them to learn through play. Learning opportunities are planned around the Foundation Stage curriculum which covers children aged 3-5 as they prepare for Key Stage One in year one of school. 

List of Ofsted registered Pre-schools

www.ealingfamiliesdirectory.org.uk/Pre-schools

 

Children's Centres

Children’s centres provide childcare through contracting nursery providers to run a nursery within their premises or at one of their linked sites. The nursery would need to have achieved a good Ofsted report to be considered and works hand-in-hand with children’s centre staff to provide the best experience possible for the children attending.

A number of children’s centres in the London Borough of Ealing have specialist facilities for children with additional needs and disabilities such as sensory rooms, Makaton and sign-language training as well as Stay & Play sessions visited by Speech & Language Therapists.

List of Ofsted Registered:

www.ealingfamiliesdirectory.org.uk/ChildrensCentres

Breakfast / Afterschool Clubs

Out of school clubs offer childcare for a range of ages outside of school hours - this  includes breakfast clubs (before school starts) and after school clubs which look after children until their parents collect them. These sessions are usually based around activities such as art or sport and are often set up near or within schools. An out of school club can open as early as 8am and close as late as 6pm. 

List of Ofsted Registered breakfast clubs:

www.ealingfamiliesdirectory.org.uk/BreakfastClubs

Holiday Playscheme

Holiday playschemes offer childcare to parents and carers during the school holidays. Playschemes can be run by the local council, schools and private companies; as a result the cost of playschemes varies from one to the other. As does the types of activities and programmes on offer.

Children and young people with additional needs or disabilities should be able to fully participate in all holiday playschemes in the borough. 

List of Ofsted Registered holiday playschemes:

www.ealingfamiliesdirectory.org.uk/HolidayPlayschemes

Crèche

A crèche is a safe and supervised play area for children whose parents are occupied by another activity on the same premises, e.g. evening classes, gym sessions or shopping centres. If a crèche is open more than four hours a day and more than fourteen days a year it must be registered with Ofsted.

List of creches:

www.ealingfamiliesdirectory.org.uk/Creche

Nannies & Babysitters

A nanny or babysitter looks after your children in your own home. Because of this they don’t have to be registered with Ofsted but some choose to go on a voluntary register. If you go through an agency you may need to pay a finder’s fee. If you arrange a nanny or babysitter directly you become their employer. This means you become responsible for recruiting an appropriate person; carrying out a criminal record check (now called DBS check, Disclosure and Barring Service); ensuring they are trained; agreeing terms and conditions and taking care of their pay.

List of Nannies & Babysitters:

www.ealingfamiliesdirectory.org.uk/NanniesandBabysitters

Frequently Asked Questions when choosing childcare

  • Does the setting (childcare provider premises and environment) feel welcoming and nurturing?
  • Are parents given information on their child’s progress and achievements?
  • What training and experience do the carers have?
  • Is there enough space including an outdoor play area?
  • Is there a good range of activities and resources available?
  • Is the environment safe and what safety precautions have been taken?
  • What happens in case of accident or emergency?
  • Are there facilities for nappy changing/toilet training?
  • Are meals and snacks freshly prepared and are they healthy and nutritious?
  • Does the setting have a quality assurance certificate?
  • What Ofsted grade has the setting been awarded?
  • Are you able to get any recommendations or reviews from other parents?

Key questions to ask a childcare provider

  1. How long have you worked with children?
  2. What qualifications and/or training do the carers or staff have?
  3. Are they trained to give medication or use specific equipment?
  4. Is the building secure, comfortable and welcoming?
  5. Is there a purpose built outside play area suitable for all children?
  6. Where will my child rest and how often?
  7. What kind of food and drink will you give and at what intervals?
  8. Can the specialist dietary needs of my child be supported?
  9. What would be a typical day for my child in terms of activities?
  10. Will my child have the opportunity to mix with other children? And how old will they be?

Children with additional needs:

  1. How long have you worked with children and what experience do you have of supporting children with additional needs and/or a disability?
  2. What qualifications and/or training do the carers or staff have in relation to your child’s needs?
  3. Are they trained to give medication or use specific equipment?
  4. Is the building secure, comfortable and welcoming?
  5. Is there a purpose built outside play area suitable for all children?
  6. Where will my child rest and how often?
  7. What kind of food and drink will you give and at what intervals?
  8. Can the specialist dietary needs of my child be supported?
  9. What would be a typical day for my child in terms of activities?
  10. How would they approach your child’s disability with other children and their parents?
  11. Will my child have the opportunity to mix with other children? And how old will they be?
  12. How will they communicate with you about your child’s progress and needs?

What to look out for when visiting a childcare provider

  • Are the children calm, safe and happy?
  • Do children play and talk together?
  • Are the staff listening to the children and answering them carefully?
  • Are the staff friendly and proud of their work?
  • Are the staff joining in with what the children are doing?
  • Are there lots of activities planned to help children learn and play? Can the children plan some of these themselves?
  • Are there plenty of clean toys and equipment for children to use? And are these readily available to the children?
  • Are the premises clean, well-kept and safe for children with a fun outside play area (or will children go to parks and other places regularly)?
  • Do parents have plenty of opportunities to explain and discuss what they want for their children?
  • Did you receive a good welcome and did staff acknowledge your child directly?
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