How to choose a childcare centre
When you are evaluating a childcare centre, you should consider the following:
- Do the premises look tidy and well-kept?
- Is the environment bright and stimulating? Can you see evidence of the kid's activities?
- Are the children happy and engaged with suitable activities?
- Are the kitchen and bathroom areas clean and kid-friendly?
- What is there for the children to play with inside and outside?
Take the time to chat to the staff and ask the following questions:
- How many staff is employed at the centre, and how long have they been there?
- Are you able to drop into the centre at any time to see your child?
- Does the centre keep your child's work, or do they send it home?
- Is there a program they follow, and how do they communicate this with parents?
- Is there a daily routine?
- How do parents find out about what is going on in the centre? Is there a newsletter?
- What are the policies of the centre?
- Do they toilet-train children?
- Are there open days, or performances that are open to families?
- Do they have air-conditioning/ heating? Do they have a no hat- no play policy? Do they provide sunscreen?
- What do they do in wet weather? Can they watch TV/ DVDs?
And once you've found a centre that you like, you need to consider the practicalities:
- What are their operating hours?
- Can you get care on the days that you require?
- How much does it cost? If you're eligible for the Child Care Subsidy, what will you actually pay?
- Do you have to pay for public holidays and sick days?
- Does the centre shut down (ie during School Holidays and during the Christmas period), and if it does, how long is it shut for and are you obligated to continue paying fees during this period?
- Do you supply your child's food, or do they?
- Do you need to supply your own nappies?
- What are their hours of operation?
Common Sense Advice. Share your experiences, tips and advice on the Kidspot Forum.
This article was written by Ella Walsh for Kidspot. Sources include National Childcare Acceditation Council and Australian Govt's Family Assistance Office .
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