Starting your child off in a child care and early education facility is not something to be taken lightly. After all, you are entrusting your young child’s care, development and early education to the centre you choose, so you’ll want to choose wisely.
To help you out, this article will provide a brief and concise child care checklist you can use as a guide to get you started on choosing just the right centre for you and your child.
The Centre Itself
Let’s start off with the centre itself and some things you should be mindful of.
- You will want to determine what hours of the day your child will be attending the centre and see if the centre’s opening hours match up with your requirements.
- Is the centre conveniently located?
- What is the atmosphere like in the centre? Does it seem welcoming and inviting? It can pay to spend some time there observing before enrolling your child.
- Does the centre offer an orientation process for both the parents and especially the child who will be attending?
- Also, check that the centre meets the National Quality Framework.
- What are the fees and what do they include?
While it’s important that the centre meets expectations, it’s just as vital that those who work there do so as well. Take note of the following.
- When you ask questions, are team members ready and willing to provide you with answers?
- Another important thing to note is how many children there are for each member of staff.
- Do the minders and educators seem friendly and happy and do they seem to get along well with the children? Are the kids comfortable with them?
- Do team members appear to look and act in a professional manner?
The Centre’s Programs
You will need to thoroughly understand the centre’s curriculum and the daily activities your child will be involved in.
- Are there both stimulating indoor and outdoor activities included and if outdoors, does the centre offer sun protection?
- Ask if the facility follows the Early Years Learning Framework?
- Will they allow you to peruse the centre’s list of activities so you can familiarise yourself with them?
- Spend some time observing but also ask if you can see the centre’s room routines so you know exactly what they are.
- Another thing to consider is a daily learning app. Does the centre have one?
Check into everything regarding the services of the child care facility, such as what’s on the following checklist.
- You will want to check that the centre is clean and hygienic, both indoors and outdoors. This includes the kitchen as well as the bathrooms.
- Is there an area for children to take a nap throughout the day and is it comfortable?
- Does the centre clearly promote personal hygiene for children and are there nappy changing facilities if required?
- Offering security services is another important consideration.
- Discover exactly what is included in the fees and what extras you might have to pay for.
- Are there any consumables provided or must parents provide them? These include: Bottles, milk, wet wipes, nappies, sunscreen, hats etc.
- What is the centre’s policy when it comes to sick children and medication administration?
Of course, meals are an important consideration and something you’ll want to be fully aware of.
- Does the centre offer meals or do you have to provide meals, snacks and drinks daily for your child?
- If they do provide meals, are the meals nutritious and does the centre make it a focus to teach children about nutrition and healthy eating? Can you see a copy of the menu?
- Also, it’s important for a centre to be aware of any food allergies your child might have and that they will make efforts to ensure the wellbeing of your child.
- You will also want to be sure the centre can accommodate a variety of dietary requirements.
It’s always handy to have a checklist to follow and the above list should serve as a handy guide when selecting the right child care facility in your area. Never be afraid to ask a lot of questions, request to see the curriculum or spend some time at the centre merely observing how things work.