Choosing a childcare center is an important decision for any parent or caregiver. Obviously, the safety and welfare of your child are of paramount importance, and you also need to know which childcare centers will best suit your needs. Whether you are returning to work or introducing your child to schooling, we can help you find the best child center for your needs.
Check out this handy guide that will help you clarify what you want in a childcare center and give you some tips on what to look for when finding childcare centers in your area.
Pre-Visit Child Care Info
Before you visit a childcare center, you should have a clear idea of your requirements and expectations. It will save you time in the long run, and you should be able to find out the essential details you need from a simple phone call or even by viewing the childcare center’s website online if they have one.
Start by asking yourself these questions:
- Will the childcare center be able to accommodate my schedule?
Ask yourself which days you will be sending your child to a center and whether the operating hours will suit your needs. For example, if you work extended hours, does the center provide care and supervision for children, and what fees or charges are involved? What if you’re simply running late?
- Do you have cultural or religious requirements?
Is it a benefit to you if a childcare center includes children’s religious activities or teachings, or would you prefer the opposite? It’s much easier to find these details out beforehand if they are important to you.
- Are there any dietary requirements or special needs?
Make sure a childcare center can provide the assistance you need when it comes to these things as well. If your child is currently taking any medication or suffers from any conditions, you will need to inform the childcare center and make sure they can provide appropriate care.
- Does the location suit you?
Think about things such as parking, public transport or proximity to home/work. If you live in a city, remember to factor in things such as traffic to ensure any childcare centers you consider are feasible when it comes to location.
Inspecting A Child Care Centre
Next, you will want to visit a childcare center that so far meets your requirements, and you may even consider taking your child with you to see their reaction. Here are a few things to take note of on your first look at the center:
- The reception should be clean and tidy
- The staff should be attentive and friendly
- There should be a level of throughout the center with designated places for activities
- The bathrooms should be clean
- Staff should be attentive to children
- The building should be well-maintained with good light and ventilation
Health and Safety
Naturally, health and safety are going to be some of your primary concerns. You will probably already be looking for obvious things that you might be concerned about with children, but don’t forget to inquire about the following important factors to ensuring a safe and clean childcare environment:
- Childcare center cleaning policies – A good center will have a range of policies in place relating to changing nappies, keeping cleaning hands clean and looking after sick children.
- Security – There should be adequate staff and security access to the childcare center. Child center staff should be easy to identify.
- Fire exits and safety drills – Make sure the childcare center is fire safe.
- First aid and accident procedures – Staff should be able to administer first aid. There should also be a procedure in place to document accidents and notify parents.
- Sun Protection – Make sure hats, sunscreen and sun safety are parts of your childcare center’s program.
- Supervision – Make sure children are supervised by qualified staff at all times, including nap times and throughout activities. Ask how staff deal with behavioral issues or conflicts.
Food and Drink
Food and drink is an important part of daily life in a childcare center, and cleanliness and diet are important factors for you to consider. You should be able to see a menu of snacks and meals children are offered so you can decide if this will suit your child. It’s also important to indicate any allergies or problems your child might have when it comes to food and drinks.
Ask if children have access to food outside of mealtimes, and find out what the policy is if children do not eat during mealtime. Many centers will have a nutrition policy that you can view and use to make decisions about the food and drink served at a childcare center.
Toys and Activities
There should be plenty to keep your child entertained at a childcare center. Each center will have its own range of facilities from toys to a playground, but make sure the center has equipment that your child can use. Understand whether children of all ages play together or if the children are organized into age groups.
There may be an activity schedule that you can browse, and there may even be excursions where applicable. Either way, make sure you are happy with the amount of time spent on free play and organized activities and also with the educational or developmental value of the programs.
Staff should help regulate toys used for the children, and all toys should be clean and safe for a variety of ages.
Policies and Documentation
After touring a childcare center, it’s likely you will be given some paperwork and policies to read over. This should contain a list of operating procedures, rules, responsibilities and regulations. Some of these will apply to the center while others will be designed to inform parents and carers of their obligations.
Make sure you understand any liabilities, insurance issues, and additional fees and charges you might have to face under certain circumstances, such as if you choose to change your schedule. It’s also worth enquiring if the childcare center provides a newsletter or similar information to keep you informed about the activities of the center. Source: https://wordmaze.net/