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You know what’s best for your child. As a parent or guardian you are your child’s most important carer, and it’s what you and your child do together at home that is most important in giving them the best start in life. Care from friends, grandparents and other relatives plays a vital role too.
But choosing early learning and childcare outside the home, that’s right for your child, is another crucial decision that you have to make.
Good for your child
Mums and dads are the most important influence on a child, but early learning and childcare is vital too. With good early learning and childcare your child will get a head start that will help prepare them not just for primary school but for the challenges that life will bring. Standards about safety, welfare and learning are clearly set out.
Good for you too
- It helps you with the decisions you need to make in balancing your work and family life, whether you’re in a job, studying for qualifications or training for new skills.
- If you are a working mum or dad there are many options that can help you. Flexible working will make it easier to balance work and home commitments, and taking parental leave at key stages will give you time at home with your child.
- You can get financial help with childcare costs, from tax credits to employer vouchers and other entitlements.
- You can be confident your child will be safe because the Early Years Foundation Stage has safeguards to make sure every child is in a secure environment with people who care for them.
- Early learning or childcare increases your freedom to manage your work and family life in the best way possible, whatever your circumstances.
There are lots of options and you’ll need to work out the best arrangement for your child, your lifestyle and your pocket.
These pages are designed to help by giving you information about what’s on offer, including free entitlements and tax credits, and lots of other support.
Help with paying for childcare
The Early Years Entitlement
Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (992KB - pdf help)
2gether - funded childcare for 2year olds