Childcare and Early Years

children sitting on a play mat playing with plastic blocks

Are you looking for childcare and don't know where to begin?

Finding the right care for your child is really important.  Give yourself plenty of time to look in to different options available. 

There are many childcare options available in Cumbria, you can find details about the different childcare providers below or by searching on the right hand side of this page.

If you can't find what you're looking for or need some advice or support then contact Cumbria Children and Families Information Service on 03457 125 737 or email

Have you been unable to find the childcare you need?  Our Brokerage Service may be able to help.  We will contact providers on your behalf and do our best to help you find suitable childcare. 


A registered childminder is a self-employed person who provides care in their own home for other people's children.   Many offer flexible working hours, including out of school care and some work at weekends. 

A childminder must be registered with Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education), if they provide care for someone else's child for 2 hours or more a day and who gets paid for this service.

Childminder Leaflet [PDF 3.4MB]

Day Nursery

A day nursery offers care and learning opportunities for children up to the age of 5. Some are registered to care for babies from 6 weeks old.

Most are open 8am to 6pm and care is usually provided all year, they may also provide care for older children at breakfast, after school and holiday clubs.

Day Nursery Leaflet [PDF 566KB]


A pre-school offers fun activities and learning opportunities to children from the age of 3 to 5 although some groups take younger children.  Sessions are held during school term time. 

The length of sessions can vary from 2 and a half to 4 hours and some offer full time childcare. 

Pre-School Leaflet [PDF 1,141KB]

Out of School Care

An out of school club offers care and play for school aged children at times when the school is closed.  Clubs are often based on school sites, although off-site clubs may collect children from local schools, either using transport or a walking bus.

  • After school clubs usually runs from 3.30pm to 6pm during term time. 
  • A breakfast club provides care before school starting from 8am to 9am. 
  • Holiday playschemes offer play, activities and outing from children during school holidays. Typically open from 8am to 6pm and other will offer part-time hours.

Out of School Care Leaflet [PDF 2.6MB]


Creches provides care for children while their parents or carers are occupied nearby.  This care is offered in some colleges, shopping and leisure centres.

It is short-term, occasional care for children under 8 years.

Childcare in Your Own Home

A Home Childcarer
Home Childcarers are a form of approved childcare to enable parents to have their children cared for in their own home.  They can look after children of up to 2 families at any one time and either be self employed or employed by one or more of the families.

A nanny is someone you employ to care for your children in your home.  They can live with you or come to work daily.
A live-in nanny's duties are typically focused on childcare and household tasks related to the children, such as preparing food.

Au Pairs
An au pair is usually a foreign student who comes to live with you from another country to help take care of your children and do light housework for 25 hours a week. 

Most au pairs will be 17 to 27 years old with no formal childcare training.

A Babysitter
A babysitter will look after your children in your home for short periods of time. 

Babysitters are generally responsible for planning activities (games, sports, art) or supervising play dates. Some will have other responsibilities such as cooking and cleaning, driving to and from scheduled activities, and helping with homework. Above all, a babysitter is responsible for the safety and wellbeing of the children while the children are in their care. 

Childcare in Your Own Home Leaflet [PDF 1,326 KB]

Parent and Todder Group

Parent and toddler groups provide a meeting place for adults while their children play together and take part in activities.

Groups usually last for approximately 2 hours, run once or twice a week during school term time.

Parent and Toddler Group Leaflet [PDF 394KB]

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