Jump to content

Choosing a Childcare Centre
What to look for?


  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 ABabyPlease

Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:21 AM

Hi I am starting to look for a childcare centre for when my little one is 18 - 24 months for 1 - 2 days a week.

What should I be looking for or asking when I visit centres?

Thanks

#2 Mumma Franklin

Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:28 AM

I think ratio wise all centers should be the same
So pretty much find out if you can visit a few times before your little one starts so they can get used to the centre. Mainly just spend some time there and get the feel for the staff you will soon know if you like the place or not?
Some centers can be old but have such an amazing feel about them with wonderful experienced staff while other centers can be new and so much new equipment etc but have lousy staff but it can be vice versa
So pretty much just get a tour for the centre and ensure they allow orientation before starting at the centre!

#3 MissingInAction

Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:03 PM

Do the staff (not just the director) seem happy ?  Pleasant?  Honest?  Stressed?  Uncaring?  
What's your gut feeling when entering the room (at various times of the day... just drop in and visit casually... not too much or you'll get a rep as an annoying parent but once or twice unannounced should give you a feel for how it "really" works)?  All centres, all rooms, all workers and all kids have bad days but if you're consistently seeing a very untidy room, stressed staff and snotty noses, crying children everywhere you look and chaos about to implode over in the back corner you've got problems!!  
Tour the whole centre, not just the room that they'll initially be enrolling in and see what you think.
Ask any questions you have, don't feel silly, just ask!!  
Are staff qualified?  Is there a low staff turnover?  
Have they been assessed against the new National Quality Framework and, if so, how did they go?
Does their philosophy match yours?  


#4 Mamabear2010

Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:22 PM

I mostly picked our centre based on gut feel. Other than that, ask about their policies about specific things. For example, exclusion policies (when will your child be excluded due to illness), holidays (do they shut over Christmas), make up policy (this is rare- but some centres allow you to swap days if your child is sick or there's a public holiday), first aid (my centre will give Panadol to my ds if I provide it with a pharmacy label), picking up extra days (if the centre has space, can you pick up an odd day here or there).

I chose a centre where there is a chef-they provide morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea (plus any snacks). I provide breakfast and dinner, which they will serve. For breakfast, I provide cereal and they provide the milk. I LOVE not having to pack lunch for my ds.

I also chose a centre where they provide all the nappies. This is an added bonus, rather than a necessity.

As pp said, look through the centre, speak to the staff. Look at the play equipment.

Good luck! It can be challenging, especially if you're not used to leaving your child with others.

PS Ask about staff turnover. It's an important question- you don't want your child to have lots of changes in their caregivers. It's very unsettling.

#5 MissingInAction

Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:28 PM

QUOTE (Mamabear2010 @ 07/01/2013, 12:22 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I chose a centre where there is a chef-they provide morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea (plus any snacks). I provide breakfast and dinner, which they will serve. For breakfast, I provide cereal and they provide the milk. I LOVE not having to pack lunch for my ds.



Breakfast AND Dinner?! What are the opening hours of this centre? That's a long day. Are you in a capital city?
I've worked with children for a decade and have never come across a centre that serves dinner.  Ever.  Breakfast: yes.  Dinner:  Never!  Wow.  That's certainly different!

#6 FizzlingFireboxes

Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:30 PM

I would look for the following:
- Is the centre clean
- Are staff happy, Are kids happy. As a pp mentioned centre's have bad moment with some kids might be having a bad day but you can see how the staff react.
- will they follow your own routine or do they have their own.
- sleeping was a big one for me. Our centre has two cot rooms in the baby room (0-2). This was a positive for me incase there was a troubled sleeper etc there was another room. To help DS settle in they allowed me to bring in his seahorse which played music quietly for a little while.
-  will they move him up a room when he turns two? Or will he start in the older room? I know a room change can be scary and if he just started at 18months this may be too much?

Also see if you can ease him in, we started a month or so before I was due to go back to work. I attended with DS for an hour for a few days, then left him there for a coupe of hours for a few days, and worked up to sleeping there and staying the day.

Best of luck original.gif

ETA. Look at what's included like a pp mentioned. Meals, nappies etc... Or centre has all this included but DS has very sensitive skin and ended up in a rash from their nappies, I have provided our own nappies for 12months now and they have stuck a sign up over the change table with his picture stating he has his own nappies original.gif

Edited by mummy.to.one, 07 January 2013 - 12:35 PM.


#7 Tesseract

Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:44 PM

Go with your gut. A good centre will leave you feeling good, a bad one will (hopefully) leave you feeling a little off even if you can't pinpoint why.

Good questions to ask:
-Who owns the centre or is it community run? We ended up at a community one but I visited two private ones. The first answered this by saying "Oh I'm not sure, he only comes in a couple of times a year, he's an investor" - this was a red flag for me because it indicated that profit was the main motivator for decision-making. The second answered this by saying "I am the owner" and then telling me about how he and his wife, who were both teachers, started the centre because there wasn't adequate childcare in the area yada yada yada. So "private" can mean different things.
-Staff turnover? Or just asking "how long have you been here? And what about her? And her?" If nobody has been there longer than a couple of years that would be a big red flag for me. At our centre most of the staff had been there upwards of 5 years. Happy staff usually means a good centre.
-Sleep/settling approach. One centre I visited had 5 infants younger than 6 months and they were all "learning to self settle" by being left to scream in their cots. At our centre the staff settle all babies and children by patting etc if/when they need it. I think the approach to sleep/settling gives you an insight into how they view children and how flexible they are willing to be to suit the child's needs.

Look at the way the staff interact with the children. Are they cuddling them? Being responsive? Smiling?

Don't be swayed by a swish new building, it's the staff that count. Don't be worried about a bit of mess - children make mess when they eat and play, the space should feel like it's well loved by lots of little hands. And staff that are constantly tidying don't have time to read stories etc.

#8 roses99

Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:49 PM

These are the things I love about our daycare centre:

* It's a C&K, community run centre. So any profits go back into the centre.

* It's attached to a university, so following policy precisely, keeping up to date on early childhood developments etc are prioritised.

* It has an open door policy to parents - you're welcome to pop in at any time, unannounced and parents are encouraged to come in to read to kids, play an instrument etc. Parent involvement is encouraged, and I feel this helps them stay accountable.

* It has a very low staff turnover and a mostly mature-aged staff body. My DD was in the baby room last year; her two carers had been with the centre for eight and 12 years respectively.

* It has an on-site kitchen and a cook who bakes daily for afternoon tea and cooks a nutritious, hot lunch every day. It also has a kitchen garden, that the kids help with, as well as chooks, and this fresh produce is used in the daily meals. I LOVE not having to provide any food!

* The centre is set in rural surrounds at the edge of town (no busy roads) and has plenty of green space and trees. This means that each age group has its own playground, fully fenced and separate from the rest of the centre. I loved that my DD (in the baby's room) was only ever exposed to seven other kids, all in her same age group. This year, she's in the toddler room and they have their own playground too. The older two age groups have a large playground to share.

There's probably more, but I can't think of anything else right now. The main thing is that I just got a really good feel for the place. They love the kids, it's obvious that the kids come first, and the staff are always so calm and friendly. It's got a really great vibe. Love it!!

ETA: As the PP mentioned, sleep policy is really important. Our centre would never let a child scream to learn to self-settle. The first few weeks DD was there (she was 18 months when she started), she had trouble settling in her cot, so one of her carers would either rock her to sleep with a bottle or push her around in a pram to fall asleep. Gradually, and very gently, they weaned her off both and she became a champion sleeper. They put in a lot of work to make her comfortable and were rewarded when DD started sleeping for a solid 3-4 hours a day  wink.gif

Edited by roses99, 07 January 2013 - 12:52 PM.


#9 Lady Excentrique

Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:20 PM

Does the centre provide an education program?

What is the routine of the room?

How do the kids in the room look? Bored, lonely, happy, busy?

How is the room set up? Do the kids get to access the toys themselves or is the room set up so the child can choose their own activity? Its nice to have a room that is bright and clean, interesting, but not overwhelming.

What kind of activities will your child get to participate in? Eg. painting, arts/crafts, music and dance, visits from firefighters, plays and shows, etc.

How do the staff talk to your child when you visit? Do they seem interested and welcoming? Do they get down to the childs level chat to them in an age appropriate way?

How interested is the director in the running of the centre? Do they seem proud, know the kids and what is going on, or are they bored and uninterested?

How is bad behaviour handled?

#10 ABabyPlease

Posted 08 January 2013 - 07:19 AM

Thanks Everyone - great advice!




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

Ada Nicodemou: 'I can never be completely happy again'

Home and Away actress Ada Nicodemou has opened up about the loss of her stillborn baby.

10 things to consider when you're thinking about trying for a baby

Before you start tracking your menstrual cycle and reading up on the best positions to get pregnant, there are a few other things you may want to consider.

Baby Gammy's dad tries to claim charity money

The biological father of baby Gammy has reportedly tried to access charity money raised for the little boy's medical costs.

How special surgery and IVF can create a post-vasectomy baby

Cricket legend Glenn McGrath and his second wife Sara are expecting their first child together, thanks to IVF and a delicate surgical sperm retrieval process that helped the couple to conceive.

Belle Gibson's mother 'disgusted and embarrassed'

The mother of disgraced wellness blogger Belle Gibson has accused her daughter of lying about her childhood in an attempt to garner public sympathy.

Life On Mars

It's men who need 'retraining', not women

We are all responsible for our own behaviour. Telling victims to harden up is wrong.

Doctor's mobile phone 'left inside c-section mum'

A new mum claims a doctor left his mobile phone inside her after delivering her baby via caesarean section.

I'm a mum and I'm following my dreams

I want my kids to know that no matter what happens in life, you can still be who it is that you've always wanted to be.

Those first daycare days

I had this innate 'mum' moment the other day.

'If one person had listened, my life would have been so different'

Katherine's father will die in prison for the horrifying sexual abuse of his daughter. Yet she is the one with the true life sentence.

Couple to celebrate terminally ill baby's birthday in unique way

Baby Jai Bishop has lived at Starship Hospital for the past seven months, with his parents flying back and forth from Hokitika, 1100km away, to be by his side.

This new plan undermines breastfeeding and baby health at everyone's expense

Mothers, babies, the health system and the wider society are going to pay the price of this new budget.

Trying to understand why your baby is upset

Working out what?s underlying your baby's fussiness can be a case of trial and error. Here are a few common causes and how you can remedy each one.

When those you love judge your parenting

In today's society, never has it been harder to parent without judgment. But what about when judgment is coming from closer to home?

Don't play the victim blame game with family violence

It's not a woman's job to teach violent men how to behave.

11 truths about having two under two

When I told my mothers? group that my husband and I had started trying for our second baby they told me I was crazy. Now I can see why.

'How do you say goodbye to someone you've only just started to get to know?'

New mum Sarah Sutton was faced with a shattering scenario no person should have to endure.

It's a ... boy! Couple welcomes son number 13

"It's a boy!" That's the phrase Kateri Schwandt has heard in labour delivery ward for the 13th time in her life.

Six reasons to go for a walk

Can't find time to get to the gym? It could be just as beneficial to put your baby in the stroller and go for a walk.

Seven questions you should be asking about your health cover

If the last time you assessed your health cover was five years ago, there?s a chance it may no longer suit your needs. To ensure it?s still right for your family, click here for seven questions to ask.

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

Where are the childcare places?

It?s all very well to encourage women to work if they choose to, but how can the measures lead to increased workforce participation when women are once again left holding the baby?

The pain of not having babies and not knowing why

After seven years of wishing, hoping, crying, punching pillows and shouting "why me?!", the end result is more than I ever thought possible.

Getting your family finances in order

Whether you're after a new car for a growing family, a bigger house, or are just fixing up your finances, here are the basics on borrowing.

Mum shares graphic selfie to warn against tanning

A mum has shared a graphic photo of her skin cancer treatment as a warning to others.

Does parenthood make us happier?

We can certainly gain higher levels of happiness when we become parents, but the trick is to not get overwhelmed by the pressures of raising our kids.

No, having a dog is not like having a human child

It's obvious these people dote on their pets, but they're barking up the wrong tree.

Toddler styling

Seven things my toddler taught me about my home

My standards at home were never that high but having a two-year-old has taught me to be cool with chaos.

Australia's top baby names of 2014

The numbers have been crunched and it's official: Australian parents are having a bit of an 'O' moment.

How to set up the perfect nursery for your baby

You'll soon be meeting your baby, but you've got one big task to get done first: setting up a comfy, calming nursery you'll both be able to enjoy.

Childcare rebate: tougher rules for stay-at-home mums

A new form of activity testing will be introduced to ensure the highest subsidies go to parents who contribute the most to the workforce.

The women who desperately need more support in pregnancy

For women suffering from chronic morning sickness or hyperemesis gravidarum, pregnancy can be the roller coaster from hell.

When labour doesn't happen and you're induced

I never actually went into labour - so by 42 weeks I was booked in for induction.

Mum's grief for triplets inspires change

The death of Sophie Smith's triplet baby boys has motivated the half-marathon mother and her team to raise $1.25 million for charity.

The best advice for treating head lice

Just like a horror movie ... THEY'RE BAAAAAACK. So what works in treating and avoiding head lice and nits?

Overdue and over it

A watched womb never labours ... or at least mine didn't.

Parenting an early walker

Watching your child take their first wobbly steps is one of the best parenting highs you'll ever experience. But with that high comes a new reality.

Baby-led weaning worked for us

My baby wasn't interested in food - until we tried something new. Now she's eating it all, and it often comes from my plate.

'Paralysed bride' becomes a mum

Rachelle Friedman Chapman was preparing to marry the man of her dreams when tragedy struck four years ago.

 

Top baby names

Baby Names

The numbers are in and we can now bring you the 2014 top baby name list for Australia.

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.