Much like getting the right fit when it comes to your children’s shoes, you also need the right fit when it comes to nursery. Many parents feel pressurised to make a quick decision, they need to get back to work, or have family pressures to have their child attend the same nursery as their cousins. Don’t fret though, millions of children attend nursery in the UK and all of their parents went through the same stress of choosing the right place for them.
The first thing you should do is research what is available in your local area, you can contact your local Children’s information Service, who will be able to offer you a list of nurseries and pre-schools for you to choose from.
If you have concerns that your child might need additional support, make sure to check which nurseries and playschools in your area have the facilities you desire. Attending nursery can be very beneficial for children, they will be given a wider range of play equipment and toys than they are likely to have at home and will learn essential skills, like sharing and communication. Children who attend nursery and pre school have also shown to be better at problem solving, forming relationships with others, more confident and more independent. It will also help for the transition into full time education.
Early Year’s Entitlement
All 3-4 year olds in England can get free early education or childcare, some 2 year olds are also eligible if you receive certain benefits. This entitlement works out at 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year, but you are able to be a bit more flexible if you wanted less hours over a long time period for instance. You may also be able to get up to 30 hours free, this will need to be checked with your local council. If you are in work, or getting parental leave, sick leave or annual leave and you and or your partner are earning at least the National Minimum wage for 16 hours a week, you are usually eligible for this.
If you want to check if you’re entitled to 30 hours of free nursery education, you can check via the HMRC or at www.childcarechoices.gov.uk. The government also offers a service to check what childcare costs you are entitled to, you can take a look at this at www.gov.uk.childcarecalculator