In Expert opinion, The Nursery

Each month, Jackie Hardie, owner of The Nursery, gives advice and guidance on aspects of parenting. Drawing on almost three decades working with early years children, including roles as a Reception teacher and an Ofsted inspector, running an international education consultancy, and of course, being a parent, Jackie gives down-to-earth and practical advice.

This month, Jackie focuses on free early education and childcare and how to make the most of government funded sessions.

Deciding whether or not to send your child to nursery is a major decision to make at the best of times, but following the Covid-19 pandemic the decision for many is now proving even more difficult.

With restrictions easing and the risk of infection reducing, at last many parents are starting to feel more confident about their children’s return to early years education.

Early years settings offer a safe and stimulating environment delivering early years foundation stage (EYFS) learning and care for children from birth to five-years-old.

All three and four-year-olds in England are entitled to 570 free hours of childcare each year, which is more often than not taken as 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year (usually during term time), however parents and carers can choose to take fewer hours over a longer period if they so wish.

The government funded hours must be spent with an approved childcare provider, which includes nurseries, preschools and childminders, and stops when the child reaches compulsory school age.

Some three and four-year-olds are entitled to 30 hours free childcare depending on household income and the child’s circumstances, North Somerset Council can provide full details of this.

Choosing the right childcare for you and your child is vital so it is important to take time to explore the nurseries, preschools and childminders available to you. Check out the latest Ofsted reports, visit nurseries, observe, ask questions, read the reviews and ask around in the local community.

The Nursery is happy to arrange private visits for parents and carers. We are also happy to help families find out if they are entitled to funded places for children before their third birthday and if they are not we may be able to help them access alternative funding. Please call us to see if we can help.

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