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How to Choose the Best Child Care Centre

by Sesame Lane Admin on 24/10/2019 1:07:12 PM

Selecting the best child care centre can be challenging

For many parents, choosing where to enrol their child can be a difficult decision. Their choice will obviously be affected to some extent by the location and affordability of the child care centre, but most importantly parents want to have confidence that their child will be in a caring, safe and engaging environment; an environment that will see them develop greater confidence, explore their imagination through play and interact positively with staff and other children.

So how do you determine which centre is the best one for your child? Here we explore:
  • Where to go for Child Care Centre Options
  • The importance of Centre Option Tours
  • Our top Centre Tour Suggestions

What are My Options?

The Australian government-run website Starting Blocks offers a ‘search by location’ function, allowing you to easily find out what child care services are available in your area. This website lists the status of all providers approved under the National Quality Framework. Approved child care centres, including Sesame Lane, have committed to certain standards; including minimum educator to child ratios, specific staff qualification levels, and comprehensive safety procedures.

We would strongly recommend that you send your child to an approved child care provider; firstly because approved providers have shown a commitment to best practice, and secondly, because non-approved providers can’t offer you the child care subsidy.


Can I Visit Child Care Centres to See How they are Run?

Once you’ve done your background research and made a shortlist of child care centres which appeal to you, you’ll naturally want to take a look with your own eyes. All good child care centres will welcome scheduled visits from new parents.

You should be able to contact the centre to book a convenient time for a tour. If a child care centre is reluctant to schedule a tour we suggest you strike that place off your list.


What Should I Look for When Touring a Child Care Centre?

Your tour of a child care centre, is your big chance to get a sense of what the centre is really like. Go in prepared with a list of questions and don’t be afraid to ask as much as you need. Remember, you are thinking of entrusting your child to this centre and you are entitled to know exactly what the environment will be like for your child. While most child care centres will provide you with paperwork detailing basic terms like hours of operation, fee structures and late pick up charges, there’s other items you might need to find out for yourself, through observation and questioning.

Here’s what you should look for:

  • Ratios of Educators to Children | under the National Quality Framework, all approved child care centres must abide by minimum ratios of educators to children. Confirm with your own eyes that the centre applies this ratio. If a staff member has to leave for even a short period, they must be replaced by another staff member to maintain the ratio.
  • Low Staff Turnover | this is a significant indicator of a well-run child care centre. Ask the staff on duty how long they’ve worked at the centre and how they’ve found it working there. If most of the staff have only been there for a short time (under a year), this is potentially cause for concern.
  • Observe how the children are playing and interacting | in a best practice child care centre, the staff will be actively involved in the children’s play (adult involvement in play is known to enhance the play experience for children). If you see children wandering around bored, or staff sitting together chatting instead of interacting with the children, this may not be the type of environment you want for your child.
  • Tour the kitchen and meals menu | especially if you work full time, your child is going to be eating lots of meals at their day care centre. Ask to take a look in the kitchen and to see a couple of example menus so that you can be sure your child will be provided with a fresh, healthy and varied diet
If you want more information about the child care centre, ask to see their internal policies and procedures. Ask about the qualifications of staff and, look for reviews from other parents who have used the child care centre.

At Sesame Lane we understand the big decision parents make in entrusting their child to our care and we welcome all questions; either during facility tours, or over the phone.