Sending your little one off to childcare is both a massive and emotional decision. How can you make this new change a little easier? Ensuring the childcare you select is a good fit for your little one will help put you at ease, knowing that they are in safe hands. Your child's first five years of life are the most crucial for the development of their brains.
Data from Harvard University shows the brain develops rapidly during the first years of life. Before a child turns 3, they are already forming 1 million neural connections every minute. The data presented further highlights the importance of ensuring that the childcare centre you select for your little one is educational and nurturing – allowing them to develop to their fullest potential.
Being overprotective comes with the role of a parent. This also means wanting the best of the best for your precious child. In Australia, childcare centres must adhere to National Quality Standards. Ensuring Australia's childcare centres are of a high standard is the responsibility of the Australian Children's Education and Care Authority (ACECQA) and the state and territory governments. The ACECQA works with state and territory governments to ensure consistency in how the frameworks are applied. Keeping the National Quality Standard on your radar is beneficial as these are quality measures every childcare centre must adhere to.
These measures include seven quality areas that are important outcomes for children.
- Educational program and practice: child-centred, stimulating and maximise opportunities for enhancing and extending each child's learning and development
- Children's health and safety: experience quality education and care in an environment that safeguards and promotes their health, safety and wellbeing
- Physical environment: ensuring the physical environment is safe, suitable and provides a rich/diverse experience that promotes children's learning and development
- Staffing arrangements: qualified and experienced educators who develop warm and respectful relationships with children
- Relationships with children: relationships with children are responsive, respectful and promote security and belonging
- Collaborative partnerships with families and communities: partnerships based on active communication, consultation and collaboration
- Governance and leadership: effective leadership and governance to set a clear direction for the service's continuous improvement
So, what questions should you ask the potential childcare centre you are going to enrol your child in? We are going to delve into some considerations to observe or ask about when you are on your centre tour. Always keep in mind the seven quality areas and base your questions around these key areas.
Childcare centre tour checklist
Although there are much more than five questions to be asked – we are going to outline our top five most important considerations.
Questions to ask childcare centres #1: how qualified is the childcare centre?
Knowing your child is at a centre that has years of experience and knowledge will help put your mind at ease. Always start your search by going online, reading reviews and ensuring the daycare centre you select is accredited and knowledgeable. Early childhood education and care is a fast-growing industry. With so many modern centres opening across Australia, it is important to know the centre you choose has experienced and well-qualified staff on board. At Young Academics, we pride ourselves on our passionate, professional and highly-qualified team. Our expert team has developed a curriculum and set of programs that focus on the growth and development of your child. With over a decades worth of experience, our continuous focus on quality care and education remain at the forefront of our daily operations.
Questions to ask childcare centres #2: what are the centre's core values
Early childhood education is a massive investment for your family to make – in terms of money, time and your child's development. Choosing a childcare centre that has the same values as yours will ensure your little one is in reliable hands, both at home and outside of the home. At Young Academics, all our centres are guided by the following:
- Open and honest communication: trust is crucial in childcare, and we ensure you are always kept in the loop
- Proactive: our team is constantly seeking ways to improve what we do
- Professional: our team is qualified, experienced and professional. At Young Academics, we're always implementing best practice
- Family-oriented approach: our childcare centres offer your little one home away from home. We keep family values at the heart of everything we do.
Questions to ask childcare centres #3: how safe is the childcare centre?
As a parent, you want to know that once you part ways with your little one, that they are in safe hands. On your childcare centre tour, you should ask educators questions about the safety precautions and guidelines they follow.
- Are the sleeping areas clean and clear of potential hazards?
- Are children always monitored?
- Is the centre implementing cleanliness and health standards?
- Does the centre have policies in place regarding regular hand washing, routine cleaning and sanitation?
At Young Academics, we ensure our childcare centres follow health and safety requirements. You can trust your little one is in good hands at Young Academics.
Questions to ask childcare centres #4: What is the staff-to-child ratio?
The National Quality Framework (NQF) sets out minimum qualifications and educator-to-child ratio requirements for children's education and care services. Ratios are calculated across the service and not by individual rooms.
Centre-based ratio requirements
|Age||Educator to child ratio||Applies|
|Birth - 24 months||1:4||All states and territories|
|Over 24 months and less than 36 months||1:5||All states and territories excluding Victoria (1:4)|
|Over 36 months up to and including preschool age||1:10 1:11||NSW ACT, NT, QLD, VIC|
|Over preschool age||1:15 1:11 1:13||NT, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, NSW ACT WA|
Questions to ask childcare centres #5: how is the environment designed to stimulate learning?
Ask the childcare centre what types of programs they incorporate within their daily activities which are designed to stimulate learning. Not only is it important to ensure the daycare centre you select is safe and nurturing, but it is also vital that the programs and learning environments are beneficial for your child’s development and growth. At Young Academics, our programs and curriculum represent a holistic approach to learning that meets the needs of every child. We offer a range of programs including:
Do you want your child to excel in the best environment? We think it’s time you join the Young Academics family.
For more information about our centres, contact the team on 1300 668 993