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Why funded childcare is important for children and parents

Blog

22 February 2023

As a parent, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is who will take care of your child when you’re working or unable to attend to them. This decision can have a significant impact on your child’s development and well-being, as well as on your own peace of mind. 

In this blog, we’ll explore why childcare is important for parents, how and when to apply for a funded nursery position, who is eligible for funded childcare and why choosing the right childcare option is critical for both you and your child.

Who is eligible for 30 hours of funded childcare?

The 30 hours funded childcare scheme was introduced to the UK in 2017 to help working parents with the cost of childcare. The scheme allows eligible parents to access up to 30 hours of free childcare per week during term time, which can help to significantly reduce the financial concerns surrounding childcare. 

To meet certain criteria to be eligible for free childcare, both parents must be working, or the sole parent in a single-parent household must be working. This includes self-employment, but there are certain eligibility requirements for those who are self-employed. 

Parents must be earning at least the equivalent of 16 hours per week at the national minimum wage, and no more than £100,000 per year. This income threshold applies to each parent, so couples, where one parent earns more than £100,000, are not eligible.

In addition to the work and income requirements, children must also meet age and residency requirements to be eligible for free childcare. Children must be aged three or four and must be living in England. Some two-year-olds may also be eligible if they meet certain criteria, such as being in receipt of certain benefits.

You can check your eligibility and learn more information about the scheme on the government website or here on Childcare Choices.

When to apply for funded nursery places

The process of applying for funded nursery places can vary depending on the area where you live. You can apply for funded childcare when your child is 2 years and 36 weeks old, ready for when your child turns 3 years old. This means:

  • If your child’s birthday falls between 1st of January and 31st of March, they will be eligible for a funded place from the start of the summer term in April. 
  • If their birthday falls between 1st of April and 31st of August, they will be eligible from the start of the autumn term in September. 
  • If their birthday falls between 1st of September and 31st of December, they will be eligible from the start of the spring term in January. 

It’s important to note that the exact dates and eligibility criteria can vary depending on where you live, so don’t hesitate to find and contact your desired nursery for setting-specific information.

We’re pleased to be able to help families with children aged two, three and four with funded childcare across all of our settings. We are currently offering 15 hours and 30 hours of funded childcare to parents who meet the criteria. Learn more about free childcare hours and apply with Kids Planet.

Why is nursery important for children?

Nursery is an important part of early childhood education that provides children with an opportunity to learn and develop important skills in a safe and nurturing environment. There are several benefits to attending nursery, which can have a positive impact on a child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development.

Provides socialisation for children

Our nursery settings provide children with an opportunity to socialise and interact with their peers in a structured environment, helping them develop important social skills, such as sharing, taking turns, and cooperating with others. 

Children can also learn to communicate effectively, express their emotions, and make friends, all of which are essential for their emotional and social well-being. Attending nursery can also help children develop their independence and confidence as they learn to navigate new social situations and interact with adults and peers outside of their family.

Supports early childhood development

Nursery can also have a positive impact on a child’s cognitive development. Attending a nursery provides children with an opportunity to learn and explore in a structured and supportive environment. 

The EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) is designed to be age-appropriate and includes activities that promote learning, such as reading, writing, counting, and problem-solving. These activities help to develop children’s cognitive skills, such as memory, attention, and critical thinking. 

Nursery can also provide children with an opportunity to explore their interests and talents, whether that be in music, art, or physical activities like sports. By exposing children to a range of experiences and activities, the nursery can help to develop their creativity, imagination, and curiosity.

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How can childcare support parents?

Childcare can be a valuable support system for parents, helping them to balance the demands of work and family life, and providing them with peace of mind that their children are being well-cared for in their absence. Here are just a few ways in which childcare can support parents:

Allows parents to work

One of the most obvious reasons why childcare is essential for parents is that it allows them to work. Many families rely on two incomes to make ends meet, and without childcare, parents may not be able to work outside the home. 

This can lead to financial stress and a decreased quality of life. Reliable, high-quality childcare enables parents to work and pursue their careers while also providing for their families. With free childcare hours available from the government, you can make your money stretch further whilst providing your children with the best possible childcare.

Provides peace of mind for parents

One of the most important benefits of childcare is the peace of mind it provides for parents. When parents know that their children are being cared for by reliable and experienced caregivers, they can focus on their work and other responsibilities without worrying about their child’s safety and well-being. 

Nursery also provides a stable routine for both you and your child and means you don’t need to solely rely on family members to care for your child whilst you’re at work. This peace of mind can be invaluable and can help parents maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Allows for self-care

Finally, childcare can provide parents with the time and space they need to take care of themselves. When parents have a reliable and trustworthy childcare provider, they can take time for themselves to exercise, pursue hobbies, catch up with household chores or simply relax. 

This self-care time is essential for parents to recharge and take care of their own physical and emotional health. As the old saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup!

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Get your funded childcare with Kids Planet

We’ve discussed how childcare is a critical component of modern parenting. It enables parents to work, supports children’s social and academic development, provides peace of mind, and allows for self-care. 

With the right childcare provider, parents can ensure that their children are well-cared for, happy, and healthy while also pursuing their own personal and professional goals. Learn more about 15 and 30 funded childcare hours and find your ideal nursery in the North West.

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