How the range of early years setting reflects the scope and purpose of the sector.
The early year’s sector in the U.K. is complex, unlike many European countries it was not developed by government policy with specific aims but came about in response to families’ requirements which are based on changing economic and social factors.
Family requirements for their children vary. Some parents wanted care for their children so that they can return to work; some parents want to stay with their children while they socialise; some wanted their children in setting that offer services aimed at learning; other parents wanted their children to be in a home based environment. This is why the early year’s sector has various forms of provision to meet the needs of families. Early Years Setting sector provisions include:
•Nurseries and crèches
•Pre-schools and Schools
•Playgroups and other out of school clubs
•Mother and Toddler groups
In the second half of the twentieth century public expenditure on early year’s provision focused on families with social needs and difficulties. Local authority day nurseries catered mainly for children who were at risk from harm mainly in deprived areas. There was early year’s provision available in the private sector in the form of child-minders, nannies and private nurseries. During the 1960s the playgroup movement developed, where parents set up and run provision for their own children to learn through play in village halls and other community facilities. This was originally the way my setting was formed. Over the past ten to fifteen years the early year’s sector has been at the forefront of government agenda and there have been huge changes in response to social and economic developments.
Childminders work full and part time, often offering night care. The childminder has to be OFSTEAD registered if the child is above eight years old. They can pick up and drop off children to and from school and have to be flexible. The childminder may do observations on the child to see if they are developing well and does a variety of activities with the child such as trips to places like the museum, library, or a park. Crèche, pre-schools and playgroups normally caters for children of 3 to 5 years and for part of a day only. Day nurseries often cover the complete age range under 5 years old and normally operate on a full day basis. They can care for children aged from 3 months to five years. Toddler groups are usually a group of adults and children, who get together to provide activities for children under the age of 5. They are usually run by parents, for parents, grandparents and carers to attend together with their children for a small charge, which helps pay for the toys, insurance, a craft activity and refreshments. Toddler group sessions cover a range of the Foundation Stage Goals for pre-school age children. Children receive good quality play opportunities in a stimulating environment where their social and emotional development is encouraged. Parents and childminders have the opportunity to meet with other parents.