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5 questions to ask a daycare centre

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#1 Katie_bella

Posted 01 May 2012 - 10:49 AM

We're starting the journey of looking at daycare options for my DD. I'll be going back to work in September when DD is about 10.5 months. We live in a country town so there are minimal options, a commercially run child care centre, a church run childcare centre and family day care run through the council.
As this is our first baby we have no prior experience in how to choosewhich way to go. I will be listening to my gut first tho wink.gif

So as the title suggests....what are 5 questions you think are important to ask when you go to look at a childcare centre?

#2 Mootmoot

Posted 01 May 2012 - 05:52 PM

I've just started looking at childcare too.  Luckily my Mum runs a child care service interstate and has seen some places with me.  I don't know about 5 questions, but something to look for is whether the staff are down on the floor with the kids - interacting with them at their level, or not.  Also whether there is a seperate sleep area or if they just have cots/ bedding in the general play area.

#3 mayahlb

Posted 01 May 2012 - 07:10 PM

Hmm I don't know about 5 questions but I look at what activities are planned and how they relate to child development, then menu and how the kids that are there are acting and how the start are interacting with them. I also question if they will be able to help facilitate helping in some areas of development that I think my children need to work on (i.e. speech for my eldest as he has a speech delay). I also have asked how they handle food intolerance and allergies but that is because I have a child with severe food intolerances so I have a tendency to question the cook/chef/manager on their knowledge of avoiding the offending items. I also use word of mouth of people I know in the town and look for how clean the place is and generally the "vibe" of the place.

I hope that helps give you an idea of what to look for.

#4 umop-apisdn

Posted 01 May 2012 - 09:52 PM

How long have the staff worked there? (this is an important one IMO...if none of the staff have worked there for long, I would be VERY cautious about the centre).

What qualifications do the staff have?

If they provide meals, have a look at their menu and even try visiting around a meal time too to see if the food they are given is actually what is on the menu.

How do they settle the children to sleep?

How much outdoor play they tend to have each day?

Does each child have a portfolio with their observations & artwork, etc. ?

Edited by Sail to the Moon, 01 May 2012 - 09:54 PM.

#5 hoohoobump

Posted 01 May 2012 - 10:08 PM

When can I come and visit? - my centre said, 'anytime you like'. So I went early on a Monday, late one afternoon and just randomly. I got a good vibe every time, whether it was early/late, quiet/busy.

Continuity of staff?

Policy on nappies? We do MCNs, but I think a willingness or lack thereof also shows something about flexibility and working with what the family chooses for their child.

Age spread of kids in each group?

Who do I talk to if any concerns?

Ultimately it wasn't what I asked/they said that sold me. It was how they interacted with DS and showed interest in him for him from the minute we walked in. A couple of the others spoke to me or just talked about the facilities, rather than the people and education/care. Our centre doesn't have the newest stuff or the flashiest building, but it took me half an hour to get DS out this afternoon.

#6 Lainskii

Posted 01 May 2012 - 10:22 PM

You may just get a feel for the place when you go. I looked at 6 different places and was only happy to put my name down at 2. Some didn't have anything you could point out that was wrong, they just didn't feel right ifykwim

I would ask

How long have the staff been there and their experience level
How many kids in the room/how many rooms
How open they are to your routines (ie are they interested in what you child likes to eat/how they like to be put to sleep or do they have their 'own' routine'
Where will your child sleep/do you need to provide your own linen etc
Their educational programe - do they have one, are you happy with it. - along with this I'd ask for a brief rundown of their day to see the variety of activities.

#7 melanieb530

Posted 02 May 2012 - 08:36 AM

How long is the wait list at each or which one has the least vacancies?
If one appears more popular than the other there is usually a reason and you probably want to go for the more popular one.

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