Parents eventually decide to entrust their children to a learning institution. This decision is essentially difficult when selecting an early childcare centre. One has to research and evaluate the facility and the caregivers to make an informed decision. This post provides a guideline for selecting an early childcare centre.
Step 1: Get Referrals
The best place to start the search is through referrals. Typically, you can get valuable recommendations from your social network, including family and friends. You can also seek referrals from your paediatrician. Notably, the best referrals originate from parents with kids at a specific childcare centre. Besides learning about the services, you can get positive and negative reviews of the parent's experience with the childcare facility. The information is essential in narrowing the search to a few early child care centres.
Step 2: Contact the Centre
Upon getting referrals, proceed to contact the early childcare centre. It will be helpful if you establish the following information:
Location and Program
The location and operation schedule of the early childcare centre will impact your daily routine. In this case, you will want a facility located near your residence or workplace. The proximity will reduce your commute time during drop-off and pick-up times. Also, find out when the facility opens and closes, including the operation days. Having prior knowledge of the program helps you plan accordingly.
Early childcare centres cater to the development and learning needs of the child. A typical childcare centre will engage children in playing, sleeping, feeding and toilet training to enhance their development. However, a daycare facility should also cater to the child's learning needs. For instance, can the early childcare centre help your child gain problem-solving, decision-making, and communication skills? Therefore, evaluate the education philosophy used at the facility.
The quality of services offered at an early childcare centre largely depends on the facility's policies. Start by establishing the procedure for hiring caregivers. What is the experience, training and screening requirements for the staff? Also, check the staff-student ratio to anticipate the level of attention offered to the kids. Besides, find out how the facility handles discipline and emergencies issues. Notably, go through the meals policy to discover the meals available to the children and the preparation methods.
Step 3: Visit the Centre
If you are satisfied with the initial information, organise a physical visit to the early childcare centre. During the visit, assess the facility to ensure it is clean and well maintained. Then, check out the safety features like surveillance systems, controlled access points and fire safety equipment. Importantly, observe how the caregivers attend to the kids. Are they warm and affectionate? Notably, continue doing impromptu visits at the facility long after selecting the early childcare centre.
Look for an early education centre near you.
I work as a nurse, and I'm separated from my husband, so it's quite complicated for us to work out child care sometimes. We have an family child care centre down the road that is amazing and does so much to keep our family ticking when we need child care out of hours. I know I'm not the only one who needs flexibility in child care, and I know that a lot of other parents are also struggling with the juggle of managing child care out of the normal opening hours of a centre. This blog is a place to share ideas and solutions we have worked out, with each other.