Finding the perfect child care centre is no easy feat. There’s a lot to consider – location, price, extra-curricular activities, waiting lists, the general ‘vibe’ of the place – so how can you be confident you’ve made the right decision?
If you’re about to start looking, here’s our step-by-step process on how to find the best possible fit for your family:
1. When enquiring, ask about exactly what’s on offer
Most education and care centres offer a variety of services to make life as easy as possible, and to support you in your parenting role, but is there something included that sets one centre apart from the rest?
It could be the daily, nutritious, delicious meals for your little one; it could be flexible or longer hours; or special extra-curricular activities.
Convenience is an important factor when choosing an education and care centre, so be sure to ask exactly how the team can assist in supporting you when life gets particularly busy.
2. Take a close look at the programs and learning opportunities
Great Beginnings centres are all about offering safe, healthy and stimulating environments that enhance children’s learning while they play.
Children learn through play in the early years, and the educators at your centre will be able to explain how play develops a strong foundation for the ongoing learning journey.
The learning opportunities in centres could come from large, natural play areas with equipment to challenge your child physically; dance, dramatic play and music; and sustainability programs. Your child may be able to participate in learning a new language, testing out a science experiment or creating a spectacular work of art – it’s all part of developing their ideas, strengths and abilities!
3. Look for a friendly team
Leaving your child in someone else’s care can feel daunting – but having warm and friendly educators can make a world of difference for everyone in the family. By booking a tour and spending time with the team members at the centre, you can find out exactly who your child will be interacting with, and how they’ll be inspired throughout the day.
4. Find out what other people have to say
Chances are that someone else has attended the centre you have your eye on. Ask around friends of friends for recommendations and to learn more about individual experiences; just remember that what worked for someone else may not always work for your family, although it’s always good to hear more. You may even like to jump online and read centre testimonials to help support your decision.
5. Find their rating
The National Quality Standards (NQS) sets a national benchmark for educatoin and care services in Australia. Every provider is assessed by their regulatory authority and given an overall rating so families can see how they compare with other centres, providing transparency on the overall performance. If interested, why not go ahead and ask the centre manager what their NQS rating is, and what that rating means?
6. Ask plenty of questions
Does the centre close over the holiday season, and for how long? Are you able to drop in and visit your child at any time? What is the ratio of staff to children, and what qualifications do the staff have? What kind of meals do the children have?
The right centre will be able to answer all your questions and put your mind at ease, especially during the centre tour!
7. Learn more about the Child Care Subsidy
…and exactly how it can work for you.
Great Beginnings offers flexible hours, allowing families to choose from nine-hour, ten-hour or full day sessions and make the most out of the Child Care Subsidy.
Figuring out which hours suit your needs, and how you can reduce out of pocket costs, will go a long way. Click here to check out our guide to the subsidy here, or read more about flexible hours here.
8. Trust your gut
Above all, trust your gut to tell you when a centre is right!
Want to find out more about a Great Beginnings centre near you?
The enquiry and enrolment process is straightforward, with our Family Support Team ready to answer any of your questions and discuss your needs.
Book a tour today by calling 1800 314 517.