You asked

How can I be sure that the childcare option I choose is the best one I can?

Putting your child into any child care for the first time is a daunting, emotional and even scary experience for most parents. You want the best for your child, and it’s normal to be worried that your child may not be getting the best care.

There are, however, several ways to determine whether the child care facility you choose is a high quality one, and that your child is getting the best:

Look for childcare facilities where all the regulations governing such operations are adhered to.
Ensure that policies and procedures are set out in writing.
Look for a facility with qualified and experienced staff.
Make sure that security and safety are a priority, and that things like access, and first aid, are done in accordance to documented procedures.
Good childcare facilities will also have detailed record keeping processes, and they will allow parents access on request, at any time.
The adults involved in child care should be enthusiastic, engaged in their jobs, and have a friendly, open and welcoming nature.
Child care professionals should be positive about their work – even the unpleasant tasks like nappy changing – and they should be respectful of children.
Most importantly, adult caregivers should enjoy working with children – not see them as a problem or a hassle.

Another important sign of a good childcare facility is that there are plenty of opportunities for varied play. Your child should have access to imaginary play, like a dress up box, age appropriate developmental toys, toys where they can use physical skills, such as tricycles, and outdoor play areas. The more varied and high quality the play opportunities, the more your child will learn. Other types of creative play, such as painting or drawing, threading beads, and access to books, are all more signs of a quality child care option.

While the various play areas that make up the preschool or child care class room should be distinct, children should be allowed to play as they wish. Too rigid a class schedule at this age doesn’t do your child any favours!

If the child care you are considering offers all of this, and teachers or caregivers who are good at planning, believe in positive reinforcement and not punishment, and the facility is clean, well staffed and well run, then there’s a good chance you’ve found great child care!

More questions

For many parents, child minders are the best child care option. Use this list to find out whether you’ve found the right one.
Finding quality childcare isn’t always easy, but it is possible if you know what to look for.
How your baby is looked after in childcare can have a long lasting impact on development, so it’s important to make informed choices.
Play is the single most important learning tool that young children have at their disposal.
Choosing the right child care is important to your child’s development – now and in future. Fortunately, there are some clear signs that the childcare you are considering is a good one.
The so called ‘formative’ years truly are one of the most important periods in any child’s development, and it’s important that parents and caregivers facilitate learning during this time.
Helping your child to learn during the early years sets him or her up for a lifetime of successful learning.
If you’re looking at several sessional preschools, and cannot come to a decision on a particular one, then looking at our checklist can help.
A play school or play group is a great choice if you want to prepare your child for formal schooling, and don’t need to have full day care.
A crèche is one of the better known child care options that offers full day services to a wide range of ages.



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