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 on the Ofsted website (external link) or at the playgroup.
Most of them take children aged 2 to 5 years. Playgroups follow the foundation stage curriculum for 3 and 4 year olds.
What do they cost?
Most sessions last for 2 and half-hours. Prices vary and you need to contact individual groups to confirm the costs of sessions.
Free places are available for 3 and 4-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.
You can refer to the Parent guide to choosing quality childcare for more support in choosing a childcare provider.
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