CHILDCARE is good for everyone but we don't always take time to look at the rewards.
Children get a good start in life, parents can work or study, employers can choose from the best staff, and it makes for a more prosperous society.
The government is investing billions of pounds to develop more affordable, quality childcare.
A celebration of the growth in childcare and all its benefits has been taking place throughout the country during the past few weeks.
National childcare organisations have come together to promote all that's good and new in childcare in the first ever National Childcare Month.
National Childcare Month was organised by the Daycare Trust, the Kids' Clubs Network, the National Childminding Association, the National Day Nurseries Association and the Pre-School Learning Alliance, and is supported by the Department for Education and Skills.
Building on the success of previous weeks run by the different childcare organisations, there have been lots of national and local activities highlighting what's going on in childcare and all the latest developments.
The idea was to demonstrate the importance of childcare for children, parents, employers and the whole community and to show why investing in childcare is investing in all our futures.
National Childcare Month provided the perfect opportunity to promote childcare and point the way forward for the future.
National events included a MORI survey on employers and childcare, a children's art competition and organised events with discussions on all aspects of childcare and ways to make it even better.
Local activities range from the unveiling of the design of a new neighbourhood nursery and children's competitions, to the promotion of careers in childcare and a Childcare and Education Show.
Childcare is the key to all our children's futures. It is changing as new initiatives begin to make a difference for children and parents.
New neighbourhood nurseries and out-of-school clubs are opening, childminders are getting more support and training and Sure Start programmes are helping parents with young children in the most disadvantaged communities. National Childcare Month provided an opportunity to let the whole country see what's going on.