Skip to main content

Childcare Options

Childminders are self-employed child carers who will look after your child in their own home. They must be registered with NICMA and are inspected once a year. They can offer childcare before or after school, during school holidays or to your pre-school child. Some offer flexible hours. Childminders are usually paid on an hourly basis at a rate negotiated with the parent. Hourly rates vary around the country, but you can expect to pay between £90- £140 per week for a full time place. You'll need to discuss required hours, holiday pay and other terms and conditions and ensure that details of these are included in the contract you have with your child minder.

For further information on childminding you can contact

Northern Ireland Childminding Association (NICMA)
16-18 Mill Street,
Newtownards BT23  4LU
Tel 028 9181 1015
Fax 028 9182 0921

Day Nurseries look after and educate children aged 0-5. They are usually open all day but not evenings and weekends. Weekly costs vary, but average prices for a full time place per week are £100- £120 . Nursery costs can sometimes be subsidized by the government or by employers.

Playgroups (Pre-schools) provide play and education sessions lasting about 3 hours for children aged 2 -5. You can expect to pay between £3 - £6 per session.

Early education and nursery classes - Nursery Schools are usually open school hours during term time. Children can attend all day or just on a sessional basis. Some primary school also offer reception and nursery classes. Contact your local authority's education department for details.

Parent/carer & toddler groups are drop in sessions for children and their carers. As parents stay with their children, these groups do not have to be registered.