Find local childcare

Finding Childcare

The Essex Family Information Service gives free and impartial information to parents and carers regarding the different types of childcare and family support services available in Essex.Visit the Family Information Service webpage

Types of Childcare

You can find childcare in Essex using the interactive map on the Essex County Council website. The childcare available includes:

Pre-schools (including playgroups and nursery schools)   

These offer play and early education for children under five years old. This is sessional care usually provided during term time for children aged between two and five years old. They are registered by Ofsted. 

Day nurseries

These provide full or part-time care and early education for babies and children up to the age of five. Some may also offer a provision for older children before/after school and in the holiday period. They are usually open from approximately 8am to 6pm and generally operate all year, including school holidays. They are registered by Ofsted.


Childminders provide care for children, usually in their own home. They often offer flexible hours while providing a wide range of learning opportunities in and out of the home. They are registered by Ofsted.

Out-of-school clubs

These provide care and activities to fit around school hours. They are registered and inspected by Ofsted for children up to eight years old, but can also cater for children over eight. Out-of-school care includes breakfast clubs, after-school clubs (open between approximately 3pm and 6pm) and holiday play schemes which are provided during school holidays.


These provide occasional care for children under eight years old. Some are in permanent premises and care for children while parents are engaged in particular activities, such as shopping or sport. Others are provided on a temporary basis, perhaps running alongside a one-off event.


Provide childcare in your own home and can look after children of any age. Please be aware that the search facility does not show details of home-based carers such as nannies. For this, it is best to use a reputable nanny agency. Details of agencies can be found in local advertising such as Yellow Pages.


Ofsted regulates and inspects services that provide childcare. When you are looking for a childcare provider, we recommend that you check their Ofsted report to ensure your child will be receiving good quality provision. For more information call 08456 404040 or visit the Ofsted website.

Last updated on: 26/05/2017 - 11:03