A well-planned early childhood environment is top of the list for any parent looking for just the right childcare centre for their child. Some centres are taking the idea several steps further with some boasting water play parks, an array of Montessori play environments and child-led teaching and learning programs.
And looking at the photos of the new breed of centres, it's little wonder parents are clamouring to get their children in. Kids ELC has just launched its thirteenth multi-million dollar centre in Brisbane, complete with facilities to make your jaw drop. The new centre offers 'relaxation retreats' and a water park, as well as a pool where children have swimming lessons with an accredited swim instructor.
The rooms can be accessed by discovery tunnels which link the children's cafeteria and food laboratory, where children experiment with making food, and the art studio, which offers sewing, sculpture, painting and drawing tasks. The centre's philosophy is based on Reggio Emilia, which places the child in charge of his or her own learning and the educators as facilitators.
You might think parents are paying well above industry standard rates, but the centres are no more expensive at $92 per day for under threes and $90 per day for age three and above. Everything is included; nappies, wipes and food; even the swimming lessons.
Speaking to 7News, QUT academic Susan Hetherington says "I think this is going to be a model that everyone is looking at." If centres can offer these kinds of philosophies and facilities in an authentic way, then 'why wouldn't parents opt for this type of centre," she adds'.
In Sydney the Greenwood group of centres also offer state-of-the-art learning environments that have parents lining up so their children can attend. In Canberra, Essential Baby reported last year that the Sage Education and Childcare were offering features such as a concierge, hatted chef, yoga classes and music tuition. It's a concept that's catching on fast and is increasingly looking to be the future of early childhood education.
Would you consider sending your child to one of these new luxury centres?