Choosing a centre where you’ll be sending your number one love isn’t easy, and you want to make sure you choose the right centre. Australian childcare centres need to adhere to the National Quality Standard, which in turn has seven areas of regulation.
- Educational program and practice – centres must offer a stimulating experience to enhance children’s development and learning.
- Children’s health and safety – quality education and care provided in a secure and healthy environment.
- Physical environment – offering a diverse range of experiences to suit all age levels and abilities.
- Staffing arrangements – qualified and experienced educators, able to develop respectful and nurturing relationships in routine-based environments.
- Relationships with children – responsive care, giving children a sense of belonging and security.
- Collaborative partnerships with families and communities – open communication and active consultation to achieve quality outcomes.
- Governance and leadership – effective leadership of the service to contribute to quality learning environments.
Keeping these seven areas in mind, you will want to ask a lot of questions. The following checklist will help you to make an informed decision on a centre that best suits your needs.
About The Centre
- What are the fees and (how often) do they change?
- What hours do you operate?
- Do you accept Child Care Subsidy (CCS)?
- Do you offer flexible drop-off and pick-up times?
- Do you have any security cameras?
- Are there emergency protocols in place?
- Do you have systems in place for a lockdown, etc?
- Do you provide food for children?
- Do you cater for allergies and special dietary requirements?
- What is your policy regarding sick children / antibiotics?
- Do I need to pay for days where my child is sick or on holidays?
- What is the centre’s rating / assessment level?
- Do you offer casual care?
- Do you have a government approved Kindergarten program?
- Where do babies sleep?
About The Staff
- What is the child-to-teacher ratio?
- What qualifications do staff members have?
- Are there qualified teachers in any of the rooms?
- Do all staff members have a blue card?
- Are all trained in CPR / first aid?
- Are background and police checks completed?
- How often do they clean the centre?
- What products are used to clean?
- What is your staff turnover like?
- Do you provide training or mentoring for team members?
About The Learning Activities
- How much time to children spend outdoors each day?
- What activities do they do indoors vs outdoors?
- Do you offer extra-curriculars, such as sports and music?
- Do you follow STEM, Montessori, or another learning framework?
- Do you have a sun-safety program?
- What happens with toileting – nappy changes and potty training?
- Are sleeping and eating routines structured?
About Your Child
- How will I know what my child has done each day?
- My child isn’t perfect – how do you deal with behavioural issues, such as tantrums?
- What happens if my child gets sick or injured during the day?
- Can I attend the centre to breastfeed my child?
- How can I be involved in my child’s learning experience at the centre?
Whether you’re looking for a daycare Port Macquarie, or elsewhere in Australia, take this above checklist with you to your appointments and don’t be afraid to use it. Remember, you’re going to be trusting your child with these people, so you want to know as much about them as possible first.