A safe and fun environment

Childcare providers must comply with health and safety regulations, including fire safety and hygiene requirements. The setting must be fit for purpose and suitable for the children in their care, with risk assessments in place.. 

Child protection and safeguarding

To read about the requirements for child protection and safeguarding, see Section 3 of the Early years foundation stage statutory frameworks in England and Standard 20 of the National Minimum Standards in Wales. 

Paediatric first aid

In both England and Wales, childminders must have a valid paediatric first aid certificate. For larger settings, at least one person caring for the children must have an up to date paediatric first aid certificate.


Childcare providers must know if a child at their setting has any food allergies. They must have procedures in place and provide allergen information about any snacks or meals that they provide. Remember to talk to your child's key worker or childminder if you know of or suspect any allergies your child may have.

An enabling environment

In addition to essential health and safety requirements, childcarers should create an enabling environment to support the children in their care. According to the Early years foundation stage statutory frameworks in England, “Children learn and develop well in enabling environments with teaching and support from adults, who respond to their individual interests and needs and help them to build their learning over time. Children benefit from a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers."

So, what might you look out for?

  • Is it a caring and supportive environment?
  • Is the setting safe with age-appropriate resources?
  • Is the childcare provider keen to learn about your child’s interests, abilities and needs?
  • Are children supported to follow their interests and build friendships?
  • Is there a wide selection of fun and engaging resources?
  • Is there plenty of opportunity to explore, play and learn outdoors?
  • Are children involved in choosing which resources to play with?
  • Is free-flow play encouraged, so the children can choose freely between the indoors and outdoors?

High-quality childcarers will provide a rich and enabling environment in which the children and learn and thrive.

Read PACEY’s Spotlight on creating enabling environments