Deciding to use a holiday club for the first time can sometimes leave both the children and parents feeling a little anxious and with so many options available, it can be tricky deciding which provider to use.
We have written a guide on 5 important things to consider when leaving your child in the care of a holiday club provider.
Are they registered with Ofsted?
Good quality childcare providers will ensure that their provision is Ofsted registered. Ofsted inspects provisions every three years and makes sure the provider is adhering to requirements to enable a reliable, safe and entertaining club for children. It also provides a platform for parents to report to if they have any concerns. Unfortunately unlike schools and colleges, there are some exemptions which mean holiday club providers do not always have to register. So ensuring that your provider has an active registration is vital, it will show that they care about the standard of their provision and also means the childcare can be paid for with childcare vouchers, or the tax free childcare scheme.
2. Are they recommended by other families?
It is always a good idea to find out about the provider before you make the decision to book. Good providers will make their reviews and recommendations readily available. Many providers will have a reviews system where parents can easily leave comments on a service they have received. Talk to other families that use the service, and be sure to check Facebook, Twitter and websites like Trustpilot before booking.
3. What will the children actually be doing? Will my child want to return?
Gone are the days that providers would put out a few tables and leave the children to entertain themselves with table games and art – well, at least they should be! Ensure your provider is providing engaging activities that the children WANT to do. Again, if it doesn’t stimulate, challenge and engage children’s interests and needs, what the point in sending them? Remember that not all holiday clubs are about sports, great providers will understand the variations in children’s interests and always make sure there are several activities going on at once for children to choose from, with alternative activities consisting of lego building, drama productions and sign singing.
4. Are the staff qualified and experienced enough?
Its easy for holiday club providers to hire younger staff with limited experience to look after your children, and whilst its great to have young enthusiastic staff on site it is also important that there are experienced staff member or manager at the club to oversee the camp. You want to know that in all circumstances, there will be a manager or experienced staff member ready to support the other staff members and children. Find out if the camp you are considering ensures all its staff are qualified first aider’s and hold safeguarding certificates.
5. Don’t be tempted to book a club because its cheap, and check for hidden fees!
If the providers you’re researching are cheap, have a think about what they are offering compared to the higher prices clubs and if their level of service may be affected by their low price. A lot of providers advertise a price per day for a holiday club, but when you inquire you may realise that fantastic price is only for a short day. Think about what times you need childcare and what will suit your families needs, then find a club that are running safe, recommended, engaging activities. Like everything in life, you get what you pay for and the safety and happiness of your children is priceless.