Choosing a Childcare Provider
Choosing a childcare provider is a big decision. The following guide will outline some of the things you may want to consider when deciding which childcare centre is best for your child.
What kind of social environment you want for your child?
Having a clear picture of the social and cultural experiences you would like your child to have is important. Ask yourself: would your child excel in a smaller, more intimate setting (similar to the home environment), or would they prefer a larger group where they can mix and mingle with many other children? Likewise, if your child has siblings of similar age, do you want them to be cared for by the same provider (so they can spend more time together), or independent of one another (so they can bond with other children their own age)?
Depending on your child’s age, you may also need to consider whether or not you would prefer your child to be in care with students that are likely to begin school with them in the near future.
How will your childcare services fit into your family's weekly schedule?
If you are looking to coordinate formal childcare with other ongoing commitments (such as work or studies) and pre-existing arrangements, it will be essential for you to determine which childcare provider is best able accommodate your needs and schedule. Will you need formal care every day of the week or just occasionally? What drop-off and pick-up times will be most suitable? Are you looking for a provider near your home, work or a sibling’s school?
Speak with the director or educators before making a final decision.
Once you have found a preferred centre, don’t be afraid to speak with the manager or educators and get a tour to make sure that it is the right choice for you and your child. You can use this opportunity to find out more information about how the centre operates, discuss any concerns or ask any remaining questions that you may have. These may include: -
- What activities will my child be involved in each day? -
- What sort of indoor/outdoor activities and facilities are available? -
- What is the sleeping routine like? -
- Will my child’s heritage be incorporated into the educational programme? -
- How does the centre handle food and/or other allergies/intolerances? -
- What formal training or educational programs have centre staff completed?
Finally, you may wish to enquire about how much the childcare centre's services will cost and whether government rebates or financial assistance is available.