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Whats the difference between a childminder and a nursery?(17 Posts)
Just wondering if anyone knows the difference between what a childminder and what a nursery offers?
More children and more facilities maybe at a nursery
Cm less kids. They tend to have a cm-net for when they’re off sick or go on holiday. Cheaper. Not sure whether they take kids to clubs / playgrounds (I’ve never used any so unsure )
Childminders are home environments and often meet up with other local childminders to do activities, however some usually can’t provide hours needed if they offer school drop offs and collections and children are all different ages.
Nursery’s have children roughly the same age and a range of activities for all children.
We looked into both and prefer nursery
Thanks for taking the time to answer
A good childminder is better than a good nursery but a bad childminder is worse than a bad nursery. At least that is what I think.
We chose a cm over a nursery for our DD2. Our cm is amazing. Home environment with a couple of other 3 year olds and tons of enriching activities. She's highly qualified in early years stuff and has a far better imagination than I'd ever manage! Every day DD is baking, dancing, exploring the woods, doing scavenger hunts, reading, painting etc. DD was also found 1 day at pre school which she loved, but it was so exciting she would nap and she was knackered.
Best advice is to visit loads and she what you feel. PP earlier seems fair too, a good cm amazing, a bad one awful.
A childminder might not have any other children or not the same age and is theoretically similar to being at home and going out doing household trips (eg shops, school pick ups etc).
Nursery is more children and they group them in the same age. Tends to be fewer activities that leave the site, although often companies will come in (eg sports clubs, dance, yoga etc).
If the childminder is sick or cannot work, you are without childcare. Nursery will have lots of extra staff so it’s very unusual to ever happen (excluding times of pandemics).
Childminders can be various hours but usually start later and finish earlier than nurseries. You can’t always drop off or pick up at a time to suit you (they might be committed to something like a school run). You have much more control and with earlier/later opening hours with a nursery.
Childminders are usually much cheaper to make up for all of the cons. A good childminder is great but they are few and far between. Most nurseries have a combination of good and not so good workers.
For me, the main difference is that at nursery there are many hands and laps on deck, whereas a cm is just one person with lots of children to look after. And nursery children stay in the same place all day, whereas cm's often are out and about. I personally didn't feel as comfortable relying on one person. I know it's hard to get a baby to nap with older children to also keep an eye on, and I felt mine would get more one-on-one care in a nursery environment (ours has usually 5-6 staff all available at any one time). I also didn't like the idea of a cm out there driving around with my dc during the day or not necessarily knowing where they might be if there was an emergency and I needed to collect them urgently. Personally, I only know of one cm around here as she does collections at my older one's school, and I couldn't imagine leaving my young children in her care. She seems bored and annoyed and barely acknowledges any of the children in her care. We've been really happy with our nursery though, has lovely facilities and lots of activities and the staff are wonderful.
We had a nanny/cm for first year after I returned to work; cm was brill but nanny costs really added up (I naively had significantly under estimated employers costs) so we just had the cm for year 2 and my son thrived in such a homely atmosphere; I had every intention of keeping him there all the way up till school but with first lockdown I gave notice as cm closed but needed full fees and moved to a fab preschool that had wraparound care and holiday hours. It was definitely the right move; my son was ready to mix with more his own age in a bigger setting
So in short I think i depends on your little ones temperament and I’d say always trust your intuition when speaking to potential providers. With a childminder most will be doing the school runs which again can have its pros and cons; it can be useful for continuity of care if they pick up from your preferred infant school in time but they will be all constrained by the drop off/pick up times and dragged out. (Hence why I choose a cm that didn’t do school runs and therefore she had much more time to
(Pre covid days anyway) take them on day visits out/trips to parks/strawberry picking/zoos etc. Hope that helps
From my experience (DD who is 3 has been going to CM for 2.5 years now); the main difference is that a childminder runs from their home. Nursery is ran from a dedicated private building that is not anyone's home. Our childminders are very similar to a nursery otherwise. They have 20+ children attending; 10+ staff on rota, have a giant garden and so don't require any outside of the facilities trips and they certainly don't do pickups or meet ups with other childminders. I'm not sure if you're looking for the official difference or a difference in experience though. We loved this environment for DD as it was still a very homely feeling, but there was a large number of children (not divided by age until recently for support bubbles), and there is a lot of activities and stimulation for DD. The nurseries we visited lacked the personal touch, and it felt like DD would've just been another addition to the register. The CM listen to and carry out every change in routine carefully, all meals are home cooked and we have a wonderful relationship with the owners, all of the staff and many of the other parents.
I suppose it depends on what suits best. There's good about both - thank you for taking the time
A good CM is amazing. our one is ridiculously creative, with lots of activities, she doesn't do school runs, and it is run together with a second childminder, so it's part way between nursery and childminders I guess. The children build a close relationship, and have both friends this own age and younger/older. We find it a lot more flexible in terms of hours etc than a nursery, a lot more personal, and that the children are really treated as individuals. My cm had a large garden dedicated to the children, with different fun stations all round it, but they also go out places sometimes too. As it's relatively small, they do things like have birthday parties for each child, and they have 3 meals of home cooked, creative food a day. I couldn't ask for more.
Childminder is cheaper, but yes you need to trust one person with your child. I've seen some good ones and some terrible ones at local playgroups ( pre Covid.) One that i that was pretty horrible to the kids, ignoring them for the whole time, no t noticing when her kids were crying and for example not engaging with them during songs ( think we did round and round the garden and not taking any of kids hands to do it just staring. On occasion I went to speak to her saying her mindee had fallen and hit his head and she shrugged and didn't even go over to check on him. Maybe I was being too worried. She was bragging the other day how she got an excellent in her Ofsted. She seems quite fake. However many people rave about her and how nice see is and recommend her, so maybe it's just me and I don't click with her. I just think it's funny when she's on show at the school gates she's great, but I saw her twice a week for 2 years at group she'd be very different.
I'm certainly less judgmental since having my second child, but you are paying a childminder for a service and it should be ok.
Just to add, a cm is one adult to bond with until school. Nurseries in the U.K. tend to have many adults and rooms for different stages, so the child gets a new key worker at set ages. Depends on your child’s personality as to which is best.
My son loves routine and I didn't feel that a Childminder could give him that - there are other children of different ages, school runs, etc. I remember being at a free baby class in my area (pre covid) and a Childminder attending said that her youngest charge hadn't slept on the walk over as planned because the older one was talking all the way (as you would expect from a 4yo). I have also had the experience of childminders ignoring their charges and talking to other Childminders instead.
My child is also outgoing and I feel he benefits from having a larger peer group.
You'll get a feel for what is right for your child. I love our nursery and have no regrets.
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