The right daycare
Choosing the right daycare is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a parent. Your child should be happy and safe in a child care environment that is fun, educational and nurturing.
Here are some tips to help you make the best choice.
Spend time at the child care centre
Visiting the child care you’re considering is not just suggested, it is IMEPRITIVE. Spend time at the child care. Make sure you’re comfortable with the environment, the educators and quality of care being provided.
Take your child with you and see how he/ she interacts with the surroundings and people. Try visiting at different times of the day, or even pay a surprise visit (if the child care centre has an open door policy). Make use of any free visits offered for you to know the child care centre better.
Pay attention to the educators
When you’re visiting a potential child care, pay attention to how the educators interact with the children. Because the way children are treated by thecare giving adults shapes their development in, it is crucial to ensure that the educators understand and nurture your child’s everyday learnings.
A good caregiver should be loving and responsive – one who hugs, seeks eye contact with the child and responds to your child’s smiles and emerging interests. Ideally, a caregiver should be on the floor playing with the children or holding one on her lap. This is especially true for babies who require that little extra care.It is also important to ask about the educators’ qualifications and experience in early childhood education.
Check their policy and question them about their philosophy
Talk to the centre manager and educators on their parenting philosophies Are they similar to yours? Ask about how the child care deals with indiscipline. How do they put fussy babies to sleep? Enquire about their sick-child policy. What is the feeding schedule? How are activities setup at the child care? How much television time are children allowed each week – when and what do they watch? How often are the toys rotated? How does the centre celebrate diversity? What is their teacher to child ratio?
The more questions you ask at the beginning of the process, the less likely you are to be caught off-guard later.
What to look for in the child care’s educational programme?
A good day care respects a child’s individuality and develops an early childhood curriculum to meet their distinct interests and development stages. The centre environment should be stimulating and child friendly, filled with interesting things to explore.
Get the child care’s daily schedule. Check for things physical activities planned, how much time is spent outdoors, mat time environment and nutrition. Many good child cares offer nutritious meals, freshly prepared at the centre – this is always good for budding minds and bodies.
Ask around about the child care and its staff
Talk to friends and family and find out about the child care you are considering. Speak to parents of children already enrolled at the centre. Read the ERO report http://www.ero.govt.nz/Early-Childhood-School-Reports on the child care centre. If the report raises any concerns, talk to the centre manager and staff about how the issues are being addressed.
Location, hours and fee
Once you’re satisfied that the child care centre is right for you, consider things like location and hours. Is it on the way to work? Do the hours suit you? Can you afford the fee? Does the child care centre offer 20 ECE hours for 3-5 year olds and WINZ subsidies if applicable?