Skip to main content

Childcare descriptions

It can be confusing knowing what all the different types of childcare are.  So, to help you out, here are some brief explanations. 


Childminders are self-employed and registered with Ofsted to care for children aged 4 weeks and over.  Childminders usually work in their own home.  Childminders will often be flexible about the hours they work and they should provide your child with lots of care, fun and learning.  Childminders can make the most of local facilities such as parks and toddler groups.  Often children have the chance to make good friends with other children who go to the childminder. 

Pre-school / playgroup

Pre-schools (also known as playgroups) offer a range of learning, play and social activities for children aged between approximately 2 and 5 years for about 2 and a half to 4 hours a day in term time.

Children in funded pre-schools work towards achieving the Early Learning Goals.  Through play, children will develop skills such as speaking, listening concentrating, learning to work together and co-operating with other children.  They will learn through fun activities, which stimulate their imagination and equip them with the basic skills to prepare them for school.

Pre-schools are fun and caring environments, where children will enjoy making new friends, whilst learning through play.


Day nursery

A day nursery provides care and education for children between the ages of six weeks and five years. (Many also offer out of school care for five to eleven year olds).

Day nurseries can be run by the council, the community, based in the workplace or privately run. Opening times are from around 7am to 7pm (hours vary but many nurseries may start before 8am), 50 weeks of the year. You can send your child full or part time.

Your child should experience learning and development activities suitable for their age.

Out of school and holiday care

Out of school/holiday care is for school aged children to play and have fun in groups.  They are usually based in or near school and more are being set up to help families where parents work.  Some out of school care encourages links with schools, including homework and reading activities and special events arranged throughout the year.

Out of school care includes:

Breakfast clubs - open in the morning before school so children can enjoy breakfast there.

Holiday play schemes - open during school holidays between about 7:30am/8am - 6pm.

After school clubs - open in the afternoon between 3pm and 6pm.

They are run outside school hours by a team of staff usually called 'playworkers'.  Activities will be planned to help children, learn, play and relax with their friends. 

Parent and toddler group

Toddler groups provide toys and activities for young children and an opportunity for parents and carers to chat and socialise with other adults.  They meet for approximately two hours either morning or afternoon during term time.  A parent or carer must stay with the child, so they are not suitable for day care.  All groups provide an opportunity for play, which may include paint, sticking and sand, physical play such as trikes and push -alongs as well as imaginative play and of course books.

Nannies / home-based childcarers

Nannies are employed by the parent / carer to work in the child's home.  They can be more flexible with hours and days.  A factsheet describing the role of a nanny and how to recruit one is available on the Gov.UK website. 

Back to top
Powered by Open Objects ©