When it’s time for your child to go into childcare (whether it is long daycare, occasional care, or preschool) you don’t want to be stuck taking any service just because your preferred centre has no vacancies. It is best to plan and start your childcare search early, but how do you find the perfect childcare centre for you and your child? Our seven tips will guide you.
A good childcare centre may have a bit of mess around while the children are in the middle of activities, but it should always be clean. Dirt or spiderwebs that look like they have been there for a while is not a good sign. It should have a lot of equipment and resources that are reasonably new, clean, and not broken.
There should be a high percentage of educators with full qualifications and only a few who are trainees or aides. The staff should have a good energy, interact with the children, and even get down with them and join in. Childcare centres with higher ratios of educators to children can give each child more one on one time.
For those parents entitled to it, the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) gives a rebate on some of the fees. The average cost of a suburb can alter the costs of childcare in the area, and included extras like meals, nappies, and transport may make a centre more expensive too. Perhaps you want to find out about the fees and extras provided by childcare centres in Parramatta, then you can go to child care Parramatta for all the details.
Find out what the centre’s policies and values are in things like sick children, discipline, and late fees. Are they flexible with hours? How do they share information with you? A good centre will always keep you informed, hiding nothing.
There are different teaching methods that centres use, such as Reggio Emilio, Montessori, or the Early Years Learning Framework. It doesn’t matter which one you prefer, but find out what else they teach, like language, culture, religion, or dance.
Sometimes a pretty façade can hide an under achieving performance. So, look for reviews and rating such as the National Quality Standards (NQS). These will tell you what the centre needs to improve on, what they excel at, and what you can’t see from the surface.
Most importantly, following your gut. If you visit a centre and something feels off, then either walk out or dig deeper and try to find the issue. Is it just your anxiety or is there something amiss with the childcare centre?
Finding the perfect childcare centre starts with doing some research. Begin looking well before you need one and don’t be rushed into a decision. These seven tips should help you understand what to look for and what to ask. Other than that, trust your instincts and you will find the perfect childcare centre for you and your child.