for the funded hours - community pre-schools and nurseries attached to schools may be an opition - find out what's in your area - you can do a search on ofsted - and in my view its both nice to be able to walk to the pre-school and have also maybe go with some children she might go to school with - I would say you don't have to do anything quite yet though
Doesn't hurt to start looking asap as the one that is the best might be booked up.
Go to lots of different ones, as much to discover what you DON'T like about them as what you DO like.
Talk to other parents/grandparents/HV's & neighbours to see if certain names come up regularly good or bad!
Remember however whatever ANYONE else says or whatever the OFSTED rating, you have to feel happy to leave your loved one there & the service they offer has to suit with your family's needs & work routines.
(sounds obvious, but easy to be swayed by so many conflicting bits of advice & opinion!)
we had to apply in the january after turning 2 i.e. they were 2 in october and november and we had to have applications in by the october afterwards. They then started nursery the term after they were 3 when they got their free place.
DD is only 9 mo, but friends have told me we should already be looking at nursery places for her, even though the current plan is not to send her until she turns 3 and gets the funded hours. Are they right? And if so, where on earth do we start?