Choosing a Childcare Service

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A child’s first five years shapes their future development and learning. That’s why choosing the right childcare service is critical.  Whether it’s Early Education, Family Day Care or preschool, knowing what to look for and what questions to ask will help you make the best decision. 

Follow this guide to help you on your childcare journey:

  • Take a close look at Educators’ interactions with the children. Are they caring? Are they tuning into the children’s needs and feelings? The quality of these interactions is paramount.
  • Ask about Educators’ qualifications. It’s one of the biggest indicators of quality care.
  • Look beyond the educator-to-child ratios and consider the number and ages of children in the room. Would your little one cope with 20 birth to two year olds in the one space?
  • Are the children engaged in nature-based play? Don’t just look for brightly coloured toys – they are not an indication of quality care.
  • Is your child better suited to a large environment or a small group setting?
  • Can additional needs such as speech or occupational therapy be supported by the service?
  • Is a cook employed? Ask about the menu and nutritional requirements and inspect the kitchen.
  • Do a visual check but don’t become obsessed with ‘new’. Instead, is everything clean? Do the children have ample space? Are they happy and engaged in play? Are there lots of interesting resources at their disposal?
  • Services must follow the government’s Early Years Learning Framework. Is this mentioned in the daily program and observations of children?
  • Ask about their philosophy on behaviour management. You want to hear about positive behaviour guidance and observe that in practice.
  • How is separation anxiety managed? Do they allow children to cry with support and acknowledge their feelings?
  • Ask about their grievance system. Does it empower parents to raise concerns? Remember this is your child and no concern is too small.
  • The childcare industry is heavily legislated, with regulations and standards. Ask how the service ensures it meets, at least, the minimum standards.

It’s important to get a good feel for the service and feel confident in your decision. If you’re still unsure, asking more questions and talking to other parents about their experience will always help.

As seen in Shire's Children magazine

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Enquiries

Enquiries can be directed to Children's Services on 9710 0466 or childrensservices@ssc.nsw.gov.au

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