So, you have done the hard yards and are now in the process of finding a day care center for your little one. We know it is not easy—particularly if you are trying to vet “child care centers near me” online. But do not worry, we got your back!
In this article, we will give you the lowdown on what to look out for when selecting a center so that you can make an informed decision with confidence. From your child’s age to the additional services that make things more convenient, you will learn how to get the inside scoop without having to personally inspect each center. You got this! Let us dive in.
10 Key Factors to Consider When Checking Day Care Centers
Here are the most important things to keep in mind during your “child day care near me” online search.
1. Your Child’s Age
A good day care center should have appropriate grade levels based on their children’s ages. For example, children under 3 years old typically should be in a playgroup, while those 3-5 years old should be in a daycare or kindergarten.
Ask the center about the appropriate grade level for your child and make sure it corresponds to their age.
2. The Centre’s Accreditation
Check to see if the daycare center is accredited. This means they have met certain standards and criteria to offer quality education and day-to-day care. Visit their website or call the center to make sure they have obtained the necessary accreditation.
You can also check with the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) to obtain further details about the center.
3. Teacher Qualifications
You will know if the teachers in a certain center are qualified by, again, checking the school’s website or calling them. It is important that they have educators with appropriate qualifications and experience in teaching young children.
Typically, they should have completed a degree in early childhood education, as well as have certificates in areas, such as first aid, health and safety, and nutrition.
4. Teacher-to-Student Ratio
A center with a very high teacher-to-student ratio may not be ideal, as your child might not receive the care and attention they need to learn and develop. In a daycare setting, the optimal teacher-to-student ratio is 1 to 4 for children under 24 months old, and 1 to 8 for those aged 24 months and above.
Reputable daycare centers would share this information on their website. If not, you can give them a call to ask.
5. Program and Curriculum
The curriculum that the center uses is a foundational piece in ensuring your child learns and develops in the best way possible. Make sure that their programs are suitable for your child’s age and will help them to reach their milestone goals.
You can check if they are using the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) or the National Quality Framework (NQF). The EYLF is designed to ensure that all children have access to quality early education—one that places emphasis on learning through play, discovery and exploration. Meanwhile, the NQF focuses on providing an educational environment with qualified educators, safe premises, and effective organization.
6. Extracurricular Activities
Apart from the primary curriculum and programs, daycare centers should also offer extracurricular activities which your child may benefit from. These include activities such as craft-making, gardening, sports activities, and so on. When you search “long daycare near me”, you would even discover some centers offering martial arts for children!
This is a great way for children to gain exposure to various areas, discover their interests, and make new friends. So, be sure to ask the center about these activities.
7. Facilities and Amenities
When you search “early education facilities near me”, you will find out that daycare centers can have various types of facilities and amenities. It is important to make sure the one you choose has all the necessary equipment, such as playgrounds, safe environments, kitchens and bathrooms, tables and chairs for teaching activities, etc.
8. Security Measures
Safety and security are paramount when selecting a daycare center. Make sure there are security measures in place within the premises and that the center is implementing certain safety protocols to ensure the students’ safety.
For example, does it have a certain policy when it comes to releasing its students? How does the center handle emergencies? How about when someone gets sick?
These pieces of information should be available on their website, or you can call the center and ask for more details.
When checking pre school day care vacancy to enroll your child, it is important to strike a balance between quality and affordability. Ask about their tuition fees, as well as what payment plans are available for parents.
Remember, a center that is too cheap may be taking shortcuts with the quality of its programs and services. On the other hand, one that is too expensive may not be providing value for money.
To get an idea of which centers are providing the best education at fair prices, you can read reviews from other parents.
10. Additional Services
Aside from transportation, some daycare centers may offer additional services, such as music programs, cooking classes, swimming lessons, and language classes.
These can be great for your child’s development, but make sure the center has sufficient staff and resources to deliver these extra activities effectively.
For working parents, extended daycare hours can also be a godsend. Ask the center if they have flexible daycare hours that suit your schedule, as well as any charges associated with it.
Day Care FAQs
Q: What is the difference between long day care centers and regular daycare centers?
A: Long day care centers typically provide full-day (8 am-6 pm) care for children of all ages. Regular daycare centers generally provide shorter hours of care, such as half a day (9 am-1 pm).
Q: How do I prepare my child for daycare?
A: It’s important to get your child used to the daycare environment before they start. Take them to visit the center and talk to them about what will happen when they go there. You may also want to bring a toy or other comforting item from home for them.
Q: What is the average cost of daycare in Australia?
A: The average daycare fees in Australia are approximately $100 per day, but costs can vary depending on your location and the type of daycare you choose.
Now, you already know exactly what to look for when selecting a day care center for your child. It may seem like a lot of work, but doing your due diligence will help ensure that your child gets the best education and care possible.
With these 10 key factors in mind, you can confidently make an informed decision and feel peace of mind knowing that you have done all you can to secure the best care and learning experience for your precious little one.
For more useful and interesting life hacks, feel free to check out the other articles on our site!