When you’re a new parent and considering which childcare will suit your family, it’s easy to become confused by the different options on offer. Would your little one thrive in a small, local family day care? Or would they benefit more from a preschool program that’s geared to their interests? What about long day care, would that be a better choice because of the hours you or your partner work? And most importantly, which service will ensure your child is safe and happy and being given opportunities to learn and grow?
If these sound like the thoughts you’ve been having about childcare, don’t despair! It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when you think about starting your childcare search, considering how many long day care, preschool, kindergarten, family day care and outside school hours care services options there are. Knowing what to look for and ask can feel like a guessing game.
What to look for in a childcare service:
- One that works with you to ensure that your child is safe, happy and protected
- Makes you feel confident with the decision you made to use child care
- Provides a learning environment where careful guidance and role modelling by staff can help children become competent, independent and develop valuable life skills
- Responds to children’s emotions and interests
- Comforts children, helping them to make friends and engage in activities and experiences
- Implements effective policies and procedures to reduce the risk of cross infection, promote immunisation and exclude unwell children from child care when necessary
Remember, it’s important to visit the service to meet the staff and see the facilities. Trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to ask questions!
One way to help make your mind up is a new government website called Starting Blocks. This website is designed to help families make the best choice for their child and family.
Starting Blocks is a starting point for new parents and provides trusted information all in the one place, where you can:
- Search for services in your local area
- Find the quality ratings for local services
- Learn about children’s developmental milestones
- Find out about home activities that help boost children’s learning and development
- Learn about different types of early childhood education and care
- As well, search for advice on more matters relating to childcare, including preparing kids for care, transitioning kids from care to school, and building a positive relationship with your centre
- The site works by asking for a user’s postcode, and then supplies all the information needed for centres in the area
It’s already known that the first few years of a child’s life are the most significant in terms of neurological development and educational growth – so quality education and care matters.