Childcare Checklist

You can take this checklist along with you when you visit a childcare setting. you can adapt this if you are visiting a childminder. Click here for the different types of childcare available

These questions and points can act as a guideline to what to ask and take note of. They can act as a springboard for a discussion. If there are any other issues that you’d like to discuss, do not be afraid to ask

The childcare setting

  • how many children are there per childcarer?
  • how many staff have the appropriate childcare qualifications? see here for staff ratios and qualifications
  • do they have any references from parents with children at the nursery?
  • can you see their current Ofsted inspection report/certificate? Find an Ofsted inspection report
  • what procedures are in place to allow your child to settle in?
  • ask to see all the areas where your child will eat, sleep and play?
  • are the children’s art and work on display?

The staff

  • how long have they been working with children?
  • do they enjoy being with children, and why?
  • do the staff members join in with what the children are doing?
  • are staff listening to children and answering them?
  • how will they make sure you know how your child is getting on?

Whats on offer

  • is there a garden that is safe for the children to play in?
  • if there is no outside play area, will children go to parks and other such places? If so how often, where and how?
  • where will your child rest?
  • what kind of food and drink will you provide and how/where is it prepared?
  • are they able to meet your child's dietary needs?
  • what will your child do all day?
  • what toys and books are available?
  • are there lots of activities planned to help children learn through play?
  • can children start some of these activities themselves?
  • which festivals and special occasions do they recognise? How do they celebrate them?


  • what do they consider to be unacceptable behaviour?
  • how would they handle this behaviour?


  • are the premises clean, well kept and safe for children?
  • have they ever had an emergency with a child in their care – what happened?
  • what would they do in the event of an accident or emergency either to them or your child?

Pay and conditions

  • what are their opening times?
  • do they offer part time care?
  • are they closed at different times in the year?
  • what are their charges for hourly, daily or weekly care?
  • do they offer a reduction for two or more children from the same family?
  • do they offer funded childcare for eligible 2, 3 and 4 year olds? Find out what help is available to pay for childcare
  • are there any other or extra charges that you would need to pay?
  • what happens if after signing the contract your circumstances change and you no longer need childcare?
  • do they need a deposit if care is not needed immediately? How much would it be?
  • do you need to pay if your child is unable to attend?
  • what do you do if you know you are going to be late? Is there a charge?

If your child has special educational needs or a disability

All Ofsted settings will try to make it possible for your child to attend.

Ask to speak with the SENCO (Special educational needs coordinator). They will be able to answer your questions and give you more information.

More information on choosing childcare for a child with special educational needs or a disability can be found here