Childcare Checklist

This checklist may be useful to take along with you when you visit any group childcare or adapt them 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 be shown around 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 carefully
  • 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 regularly? If so 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 initiate some of these activities themselves?
  • which festivals and special occasions do they recognise and how do they celebrate them?


  • what do they consider to be unacceptable behaviour?
  • how would they handle this behaviour?
  • have they, or would they, ever smack a child in their care?


  • 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 would happen if you signed the contract and your circumstance changed, meaning that you no longer required 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 registered childcare providers and schools will try to make it possible for a child with special educational needs or a disability to attend. If you have any questions, you just need speak to them for more information. Ask to speak with the named SENCO (Special educational needs coordinator)

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