Choosing childcare

Find childcare in your local area using our online map. Providers can also access the provider portal. You can also access the 2022 Childcare Sufficiency Assessment Report.

Families Information Service

If you need help with finding local childcare we will be happy to help you. Contact us for help.

You can also search for childcare providers on our online map.

Search for childcare

To find childcare that's right for you, it's a good idea to have some questions in mind when you visit a setting for the first time. How do you know if your child will be happy? How will they cater for your child's needs? Will they provide feedback about how your child is doing? What if your child isn't happy?

See the five steps to choosing childcare guide from the Coram Family and Childcare Trust for more information on making the right choice for your child.

You may also be interested in finding out about help with childcare costs

Types of childcare

You can find different childcare providers on our online map.


A childminder can be registered with either Ofsted or a Childminding Agency

A childminder provides care for children in the childminder's home.

If a childminder looks after children aged up to eight, they must register with Ofsted and must follow the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage and have all required suitability checks in place.

  • the number of children under eight that can be cared for at one time is limited to six
  • a childminder cannot look after more than three children under five, of which only one can be under one year

These numbers may be increased if the childminder works with an assistant and / or another registered childminder.

If a childminder looks after children aged over eight years they can choose to register on the childcare register.

Childminders are free to set their own hours. Some are registered with Ofsted to provide overnight or weekend care; others may only offer out-of-school care. For many, normal working hours are Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. Childminders set their own charges.

Funded childminders

Once childminders are registered with Ofsted, they can take funded two, three and four year old children.

Childminders graded as 'inadequate' or 'requires improvement' by Ofsted, cannot take newly government funded two year old children, unless there is a sufficiency need in their local area.

Search for childminders

You can search for childminders using the childcare map. 

Find childminders

Not all childcare providers advertise online. For a list of childminders in North Yorkshire and any further help, please contact the families information service.

Day nurseries, pre-schools and playgroups

Day nurseries, preschools and playgroups must register with OFSTED and must follow the statutory framework for the early years foundation stage, and have all required suitability checks in place.

Day nurseries

Day nurseries must be registered with Ofsted. Most day nurseries are open all year, generally from 8am to 6pm on weekdays. Most day nurseries offer funded early education places for eligible two and all three and four year olds. More information on funding can be found on the early education places and funding page.

Preschools and playgroups

Some preschools and playgroups offer full day care and some offer sessional care only (for instance, mornings or afternoons).

The majority of preschools and playgroups are open term time only and are managed by a voluntary committee. Some preschools and playgroups may have links with the local primary school and operate as governor run settings where the board of governors manage the provision.

Most preschools and playgroups offer funded early education places for eligible two year olds and all three and four year old children

Out of school clubs and holiday clubs

Out-of-school club provision normally opens before and after the school day and may operate during the school holidays.  As well as providing a safe place for older children they also offer constructive activities.

Holiday clubs

Holiday clubs provide childcare during most school holidays. They may only be open for certain weeks over the holiday periods. Few open during the Christmas holiday and opening hours may vary.

Some activity schemes offered during the holiday periods, such as football schemes, may be available in your local area and offered by local community groups or leisure centres.

Access more information on North Yorkshire Connect, a free community directory.

Parent and toddler groups and crèches

Parent and toddler groups, or stay and play groups, offer parents and carers a chance to meet with other parents and carers in their local area and for children to have the opportunity to socialise and join in activities with other children.

As parents and carers stay with their children, these groups are not required to register with Ofsted. There is usually a small charge for this facility and many only operate term time only.

You can search for these groups using the community directory.

Launch our community directory


Crèches can be supplied by organisations running activities for adults, such as children's centres, leisure centres and colleges. Some companies provide crèche services for organisations running one-off activities, such as conferences.

Independent school nurseries

Independent schools may offer government funded or fee paying nursery provision for children from the age of two years old. An independent school is financed by tuition fees, gifts and endowments.

It is governed by an elected board of directors and inspected by the Independent Schools Inspection Service. Costs are usually per term and vary from school to school.

Academy, maintained and governor run provision

All must follow the statutory framework for the early years foundation stage.  

Academy provision

Early years provision may be offered by an academy and you should contact the academy directly for further details and to enquire about a place for your child.

Maintained and governor run provision

Early years provision may be offered by a nursery school, as a nursery/reception/foundation class at a local primary school or as a governor run preschool or Playgroup.  You should contact them directly for further details and enquire about a place for your child.

Home childcarer or nanny

A home childcarer or nanny, is a person over 18 years old who cares for children usually in the family’s own home.

Home childcarers can register on the voluntary part of the Ofsted childcare register.

What is the policy for admission to local authority-maintained nursery schools and classes?

To find out about admissions policies for nurseries attached to schools, please contact the nursery directly.

Childcare sufficiency in North Yorkshire

We publish an annual report comparing the availability of childcare places with local demand. This is called our childcare sufficiency report. You can read the latest reports here.

Information for childcare providers

You can find information for early years and childcare providers here.

Access the provider portal to update your details and enter headcount funding information:

Access the portal

Do you want to become a childminder?

If you are interested in becoming a childminder in North Yorkshire you can find out more here.