In England, childcare is inspected and regulated by OFSTED (previously this was administered by Local Authority Social Services). Care for children under five is split into Childcare on Domestic Premises which is Childminding and Daycare. In the UK being a ‘Childminder’ is a protected title and can only be used by registered professionals. Registered Childminders are trained, insured and qualified in Pediatric First Aid. They comply/administer/work with The Early Years Foundation Stage EYFS and have the same responsibilities for education as nurseries and reception classes. They generally work from their own homes and are always self-employed setting their own terms and conditions. The basic numbers of children that childminders can care for is 6 children under 8 years of age; of these children, 3 may be under 5 and of these 1 may be under 1. These numbers include the childminder's own children (although the childminder’s children will not be included in the childminding ‘Certificate’). Some childminders work with either childminding assistants or with co-childminders, which often increases the number of children that can be cared for and individual childminders can request a ‘variation’ which may increase the children that they care for particularly for ‘continuity of care’ or for twins. There is a professional body – the Professional Association for Childcare & Early Years (formerly the National Childminding Association), which “Promotes and supports quality child-minding expertise” and provides information for Childminders and parents. London has greater pressures on childcare provision than other English regions. A recent study by London’s Poverty Profile found the level of childcare provision in London is lower than the England average. In London, there are 4.4 children aged under 8 per childcare place, compared to the England average of 3.9.
Pre-school is often the term used to refer to child care centers that care primarily for 3 and 4-year old children. Preschool can be based in a center, family child care home or a public school. Older children, in their turn, in most countries are cared in an educational setting, usually a primary school environment. The children are supervised by a teacher all day long, who is responsible for their physical, intellectual, emotional and social development. In this regard, most western countries have compulsory education during which the great majority of children are at school starting from five or six years of age. The school will act in loco parentis meaning "in lieu of parent supervision." In many locales, government is responsible for monitoring the quality of care.
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The day care industry is a continuum from personal parental care to large, regulated institutions. Some childminders care for children from several families at the same time, either in their own home (commonly known as "family day care" in Australia) or in a specialized child care facility. Some employers provide nursery provisions for their employees at or near the place of employment. For-profit day care corporations often exist where the market is sufficiently large or there are government subsidies. Research shows that not-for-profits are much more likely to produce the high quality environments in which children thrive." Local governments, often municipalities, may operate non-profit day care centers. For all providers, the largest expense is labor. Local legislation may regulate the operation of daycare centers, affecting staffing requirements. In Canada, the workforce is predominantly female (95%) and low paid, averaging only 60% of average workforce wage. Some jurisdictions require licensing or certification. Legislation may specify details of the physical facilities (washroom, eating, sleeping, lighting levels, etc.).
The vast majority of childcare is still performed by the parents, in-house nanny or through informal arrangements with relatives, neighbors or friends. For example, in Canada, among two parent families with at least one working parent, 62% of parents handle the childcare themselves, 32% have other in-home care (nannies, relatives, neighbours or friends) and only 6.5% use a formal day care center.