Childcare suitable for pre-school age children

Information and advice about childcare suitable for pre-school aged children

If you are looking for childcare for a pre-school aged child apart from care in the family there are childminders, day nurseries, nannies or homechildcarers for 0 - 2 year olds.  Childminders can also care for children aged 2 - 4 or they may attend preschools, day nurseries, private nurseries, nursery schools or classes.

Childminders are self employed and usually look after children in the childminder’s own home. This type of care is ideal if parents would like their child cared for in an informal family setting.

Day nurseries usually open to fit with a working day between 8am and 6pm. They will usually take children from 2 months to 5 years. Some day nurseries also provide care for older children before or after school hours. They can be privately run, or workplace services.

This type of care is ideal if you feel happier leaving your child with a team of professional staff trained in childcare who can always provide care even if an individual staff member is away. They are regulated and inspected by Ofsted.

Homechildcarers and nannies
Homechildcarers can be look after your child or children at your home. This may be of particular interest to parents with a disabled child. Homechildcarers are registered by Ofsted.

Nannies do not have to be registered or inspected by Ofsted unless they are looking after children from more than two families, so it is good to obtain references and check for CRB clearance before employment commences. Nannies can either live in or come to your home for their set hours or days.

Pre-schools  provide early years education, childcare and play opportunities for children aged 2 - 4 years. Opening hours vary; they may open mornings only or for a whole day. Most groups are open term-time only. Pre-schools must be registered with Ofsted if open for over two hours per session. They are staffed by qualified leaders and are often based in community centres, or on school sites.

Nursery schools and classes: Private nursery schools and local authority nursery schools and classes usually offer sessional care during term time and can take children from age 3 years during term time.

Free nursery education : Some 2 year olds and all 3 and 4 year old children can have free nursery education

 Link to DFE Funded Early Education Choices:


Record managed by Oxfordshire Family Information Service

Page last reviewed: 11/08/2020

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