Choosing a childcare centre for your precious child can be a ridiculously hard process. You not only have to find a centre that suits your philosophy and child’s needs but also find some that has positions available.
Things to look out for
- See how the educators are engaging with the children and how they acknowledge you and your child.
- What does the centre look like? (cleanliness, facilities, equipment, how does it smell?)
- Do they have sustainable practices?
- Are they well resourced?
- Do the children look happy and engaged and if a child is not happy, how are the educators handling this?
- Are the children able to freely move from inside to outside?
Questions to ask
- What are your hours?
You need to make sure that the centres hours suit your needs
- How many educators do you have in each room?
Child/staff ratios are different throughout Australia. The centre that you choose should meet at least minimum ratio but even better if they are above ratio
Ratios are as follows;
Under 2 years = 1 educator to 4 children (Nation Wide)
2-3 years = 1 educator to 5 children (All states and territories excluding VIC)
*Vic is 1 educator to 4 children for any child under 3 years
Over 3 years = 1 educator to 11 children (ACT, NT, QLD, VIC) and 1 educator to 10 children (TAS, NSW, SA, WA)
- What is your centres philosophy?
- Do the children have access to outside?
- Do you offer food for my child and what kind of food do you offer?
Centres should offer up to 75% of a child’s daily dietary intake so it’s important that centres offer a variety of nutritious foods that meet these needs
- How long have the educators been at the service?
If staff turnover is less than five years, it could be a reflection of an unhealthy workplace.
- How does your program work?
All services program plan differently, there is no real right or wrong way but you will get an idea as to whether or not their way of planning suits your ideals.
- How do you communicate with families?
All services record the children’s daily info differently and communicate in different ways. Some educators verbally communicate this, some write the info for families to read at the end of the day, others may use email, phone calls and text messages or communication programs such as See Saw and Story Park.
- Do I need to supply nappies?
Some services supply nappies. If your child wears cloth nappies, you will need to find out if they can follow your child’s nappy routine and how they will store the nappies.
It’s always a good idea to have a centre recommended to you whether it be from your friends and family or through your local BSS site but at the end of the day, a centre can come highly recommended, but it may not be the right centre for you and your child.
Think about the way the centre makes you feel.
Look at your child’s body language when you are in the service. If they are comfortable and happy to explore then it’s a good sign that it’s a suited environment for them.
Only you will know if you and your child are suited to a centre based on your expectations, ideals and philosophies.
ALWAYS TRUST YOUR GUT.
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