In the UK at the present time the early year??™s sector is complex. It was not developed by government policy with specific aims, unlike in many other European countries, but it came about in response to the requirements of families which were based on changing economical and social factors. When men where serving in the armed forces in the second world war there where greater numbers of women needed in the workforce so nurseries where set up to care for the children of the mothers who had to go and work until the war came to an end, and the men returned home for their jobs, women then returned home and nurseries where closed. In the second half of the twentieth century public expenditure on the early year??™s provision focused on families who had social needs and difficulties. Local authority day nurseries (family centres) catered mainly for those children who were at risk of harm, particularly in deprived areas. Within the private sector early years provision where put in place such as childminders, nannies and private day nurseries and these where regulated by the 1948 Nurseries and childminders Act, then followed by the stronger Children Act 1989 and the Care Standards Act 2000.
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 during the 1960??™s. There are family??™s requirements from the provision for their young children and this varies. Some parents want their children in setting which offers learning services, some parents wish to stay with their children while the socialise, some parents want care for their children while they return to work, some parents want their children to be in a home based environment and some can??™t afford to pay the fees for provision. This is the reason why the early year??™s sector has various forms of provision to meet the need and requirements of the families.
??? There are different types of childcare provision and these include:
Mother and Toddler groups which is a place where the toddler can socialise with other children of the same age, whilst the parent or carer can stay and learn more ways to look after and help with their Childs development
??? Pre-Schools(playgroups) are normally part time places from age two and a half to school age and is normally run by a committee of parents
??? Private Day Care is for children from three months to five years old, and there is always a fee payable. There are different sections for different age groups and the parent will drop them off before they go to work and collect them again after work. They offer both part time and fulltime places. Some also offer one or two hour slots for parents who want their children to have some interaction with other children of the same age, and to develop new skills
??? Nursery Classes are normally part time and they will accept children for two and a half years of age up to school age. They are state run or privately run and normally do not have a fee payable.
??? Creches area drop in style childcare provision, the parents do not pay a monthly fee, they only pay when they need it. Often you will find creches in shopping centres, gyms, churches where the children are looked after while the parents shop, work out or pray.
In the last 50 years the childcare sector has changed a lot, and will continue to do so as society changes. Since women are no longer the primary care giver and have stopped staying at home more childcare setting are required, and they have needed to make more provision for the children of working mothers and single parents. The number of single mums has increased dramatically in the last 50 years also which makes it harder for them to both look after their children and go to work, for this reason more daycares are available. The government will offer children who are three to four years of age free day care for up to 15 hours per week which allows mothers to go to work and know that their child is being cared for.