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Choosing a Pre-School/Playgroup
On the right track in Early Years
Most playgroups are voluntary and grant-aided by the children's service early years department and a few are privately run.
All are registered with Ofsted and you can see their report at the playgroup or on the Ofsted website (see the external links section below).
Most take children aged between two to five years. Playgroups follow the foundation stage curriculum for three and four year olds.
What do they cost?
Most sessions last for two and half-hours. Prices vary and you need to contact individual groups to confirm the costs of sessions.
Free places are available for three and four-year-old children and again you should contact individual groups for guidance.
What do they offer?
They are a good option for non-working parents who feel their child is ready to socialise with others.
They provide a social meeting place for parents and carers and offer a welcome break for a few hours, giving children the opportunity to learn through play and mix with others.
Working parents would need to organise childcare for the rest of the day and find someone who would be able to drop off and pick up the child.
How can I be involved?
Some playgroups rely on parents to support the running of the group. This gives parents an opportunity to take an active role in their child's education. You can be involved by helping out at sessions or joining the management committee.
Most parents find this a positive experience, which gives them a chance to make friends and find out more about their local community.
What should I look for?
- Ratio of staff to children
- That the staff have qualifications/experience
- Staff care for and interact with the children
- Adequate equipment, toys and play materials
- Type of activities organised
- Are snacks provided
- Ways in which parents are involved
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