This is my list of top 6 areas to consider when selecting a childcare centre for your child. At Robina First Early Learning, we focus on so much more than this, but here’s a starting place for you in making your selection:
- Go with your gut – if you feel uncomfortable, so will your child.
- Cleanliness & Presentation of Centre – Your child is about to be exposed to millions and millions of new bacteria, so what are the cleaning procedures in the centre? Does it look clean to you? What cleaning products do they use? Children can be messy but we consider Feng Shui as essential, so presentation wise, is it cluttered? Check out the arts and craft tables, do they look organized to you? Classroom tidiness directly effects how they tidy up toys at home, and should set excellent standards for them to reach.
- Are classroom teachers, which are called Educators, are they responsive to children’s needs? Engaging with children? Involved with their play? and bending down to the child’s level?
- Educators should be greeting your child, speaking gently and building relationships. If you are visiting a centre, talk to Educator long enough to see when a child interups the Educator, that they pause your conversation and not the child with the need.
- Nutrition – What are they feeding your children? Is it an easy choice to make in bulk, such as pies? Or are they considering nutritional content and balancing the child’s diet, creating good habits?
- Does the centre offer free Playdates?
Integrating a child requires multiple shorter visits, this is so the child can build trust, know where the toilet is, become familiar with the new environment.
You too can stay and play on a playdate and see first hand how Educators handle children when they cry and how they interact with children.
- Educational Programs
Good centres balance indoor and outdoor environments so consider: Is there enough room to play and run outside? Is there adequate shade cover? Are the classrooms rich environmentally? Stimulating but not overbearing? Is the temperature comfortable in the centre?
If your child is there for the maximum time offered, 6am-6pm, Monday to Friday, how will they continually occupy your child? What will your child learn?
And from a security perspective, how safe is your child there? Are they in a secure location or are children seen from the road? What access procedures are in place for collecting your child? Are the staff friendly to you? Do the staff build relationships with you as the parent, if they don’t how can they possibly tell a parent from a stranger?
This is such a huge area to cover, so I will be writing more blogs on this and related matters soon.