Choosing a childcare centre can be a stressful, daunting time for parents, especially if you're going back to work and needing to find care for your child/ren quickly. We are fortunate on the coast to have a variety of wonderful centres offering fantastic care, however, when choosing the right centre for your child, it can all become a bit overwhelming.
When choosing care, parents have the option of daycare centres (mostly for infants from 6 weeks old to preschool ages), preschool centres (for children aged 2-5), community kindergartens (run term time only for ages 3-5) and family day care settings (run from a carers home.)
Where you choose to leave your child is a completely personal decision and you should feel comfortable with the educators there and the service that is provided.
To make things slightly easier for parents viewing childcare options, Central Mums asked local early years educator, Trudi Darby, to share her opinions and advice on what to expect and look out for when viewing centres. Trudi has lived on the Coast for over 10 years, is a mum to two school aged children and has worked at Erina based preschool, Karalta Cottage Kindergarten, since 2009.
1. When first walking in to a childcare centre, what should be one of the first things to look out for?
A smile and recognition from the Educators to both you and your child. Plus content and engaged children within the centre.
2. What questions should parents be asking the educators when looking around?
*What Preparation For School program is in place? *What is the outdoor playtime routine? *How much community involvement does your service offer the children?
3. What can parents expect from a good childcare centre?
Educators who listen to what you as a parent want for your individual child.
4. What are your top 3 tips for choosing a childcare centre?
*Go with your gut feeling
*Look at a variety of centres
*Ask all the questions you want answered that relate to you and your child.
5. Is the Child Care Quality Assurance Accreditation important for parents to know about?
It certainly is important for families, knowing and being confident that their chosen service has an ongoing improvement plan in place. It's also important for them to know that, as Educators, we feel parents are the most important part in building partnerships with, for ongoing communication and improvement of the service and practices.