The most important influence on a child’s development is where and how they spend their early years. Their cognitive, emotional and behavioural development is influenced by the environment they are in and the care they receive in their early years.
Positive and nurturing environments help them to thrive and grow and learn. Therefore choosing quality child care is important to ensure they are being exposed to the best possible early learning and care environment that is safe, nurturing, educational and fun.
There are so many child care services, whether it be a nanny, family day care, long day care centre, occasional care or even a preschool. However, it is all about making sure your child receives quality, professional care that suits your family’s situation and your child’s needs.
Here are some points to consider when choosing a child care centre for your child:
A childcare centre close to your home or workplace could be a comfortable option. If you have older children at school, a centre nearby can make things easier in terms of picking up and dropping off.
Think about the days and times you require care and ask the centre to make sure it meets your requirements. Find out which days of the year the centre is closed, procedure and fees involved in changing days or hours for unexpected circumstances.
You can choose a centre that provides meals and snacks, or if your child requires special dietary requirements, you can choose a centre that requires you to supply a packed lunch.
What qualifications do staff members hold? What is the child to carer ratio? Is there a balance in age, gender and ethnic backgrounds of staff? Talk to the manager of the centre to ensure you choose a centre that meets your requirements.
It is important you are aware of the procedures for reporting accidents or illness to parents. Ask about their facilities in terms of safety, hygiene, sun protection policies and emergency procedures.
How are their programs and activities developed? Are they designed to be educational, and assist with your child’s development process? Is there a mixture of indoor and outdoor activities? Talk with the staff to find out what they offer.
When you have decided what sort of child care your family needs, visit a few centres and discuss your needs. Meet the staff in person and have a look around to ensure you feel confident about your decision.