There is no denying that the most nerve-racking parenting experience is dropping the kids off in the childcare centre for the first time, regardless if the child is two years old or few weeks old. The early years of the child are marked by accelerated brain development. Thus, you need to look for a childcare centre that provides the highest level of care and development to your child.
Unfortunately, with this highly competitive nature of many after-school childcare facilities, a parent isn’t sure whether they are enrolling their child at a good day-care or a bad facility. Thus, before enrolling your child in one, it becomes utmost important to separate the good from the bad. A little bit research and asking appropriate questions can help you find the best day-care in Melbourne that will be rewarding for your child and you both.
#1 Conduct Your Research
Most parents often start their research by asking for recommendations from their friends and family. You can also take help of the internet, to find out the best reviewed and rated childcare in Melbourne. Also check around your neighbourhood, because convenience is a key factor. Search for those that are accredited by a national organisation.
The potential day-care centre in Melbourne should be a licensed facility. This means that you need to inquire about your state’s licensing regulations and make certain that the facility is properly licensed and has no history of violations.
#3 Interview Centres
Once you list down the potential after-school childcare in Melbourne, start screening them over the phone. Here’s the list of top 8 questions that you need to ask a child care centre. In case if you find that the hours are inconvenient or the staff isn’t forthcoming, discard it from the list.
Most of the time you won’t get a sense of how a childcare centre is until you physically visit it and meet the staff. Being there, you can inquire about everything from the caregivers, operation hours, fee structure, vacation schedule, centre’s policies, etc.
#4 Drop By Unannounced
You need to assess the place yourself and determine whether it meets your needs. This can be achieved by visiting unannounced. While visiting the childcare facility, ensure that the child-care environment is kept childproofed, clean and well-equipped with the age-appropriate toys and books.
#5 Stimulating Curriculum
The ideal after school child care in Melbourne should have structured scheduled allowing more time for physical activity. It should include time for meals, quite-time, free –time, group programs and individual activities. The ideal curriculum should stimulate the child’s development and make life, more fun.
Also, ensure that the centre has a range of age-appropriate toys that engage the child’s development as he/she gets older. Some childcare in Melbourne has pets and toys. If that’s the case, ensure that the proper precautions are taken when mixing the two.
#6 Check Out The Room
When you visit to drop by and visit a childcare in Melbourne, keep in mind that everyone is on their best behaviour. But, there are still several signs that might inform you that the day-care is not running the way it could. Look around the room and note down the things you see.
What are the children doing?
Note whether the kids are engaged in any activity or are aimlessly wandering around. Good carers engage kids in the activities and interact with them. While kids running and playing is normal, bored children walking around in a daze is a red flag.
Is it clean?
Pay attention to the cleanliness of the room. A room full of small kids is never going to be tidy, but if they are food scraps all over the floor, that’s a bit of an issue. You need to ensure that the potential centre for childcare in Melbourne strictly adheres to the hygiene and cleaning guidelines. If the staffs are taking shortcuts on cleaning the room, take a shortcut to the exit of the centre.
Are the gates and doors closed or open?
After anyone enters or exits an area, the door or gate should be shut behind them. If gates or doors are propped open and kids are wandering into empty rooms. Run away from this centre as it doesn’t have safety at the forefront of their minds.
#7 Caregivers and Staff Are The Most Important Thing
More than fancy amenities, new buildings, delicious organic menus and anything else, the most important thing that you need to look at is the staff. To ensure that your child is in a kind and loving environment, know that someone is dedicated to attending to your child’s needs. Know how the teachers interact with their children and whether they make an effort to talk to the children at eye-level.
Low Staff Turnover:
Ensure that the carers have all been at the centre for years and have a good relationship with each other and with the children. Ask the carers for how long they’ve worked here. If no one has been there for more than a year, it’s a red flag. This showcase that it is not a nice place to work and the unhappy staff won’t take the proper care of your kids.
Look for Head Counting:
A good carer will always keep a count of the children. Whether you are moving from one place to another, or from drop off to pick up, they always do a head count. There are strict regulations on how many carers needs to be present to look after the kids, depending on the age group. An ideal day-care centre in Melbourne would be working on 1:4 ratios and you could never leave a room unless there are enough carers to fulfill the ratio. While doing the tour, if you feel that the ratio is ignored, walk away.
Look if the staff is sitting around and chatting in groups. Occasional gossip and chat are fine, but the staff should be spread around the room playing with kids. If they’re sitting around and chatting, it showcases that the staff is having the laziness issue.
#8 Recommended and Accredited
References go a long way. Ask the centre if they can help you check the references by providing the contact information for current or past enrolled parents. Check the Better Business Bureau for any complaints or infractions the centre may have. Look to see, it the centre you choose for day-care or afterschool childcare in Melbourne is accredited.
Trust your gut. No matter how amazing the centre is or how great the staff is or what their cost is, trust your gut feeling. If your gut tells you to keep looking, go with it.
#10 Know Your Budget
The cost of childcare in Melbourne can sometimes be staggering, depending on your area. Know the value and benefits of what your child is going to receive and consider your options and budget accordingly.
In A Nutshell:
Quality childcare is essential when promoting development and high self-esteem within your child. Always take your time when selecting a great centre for day-care in Melbourne. Never be afraid to ask recommendations, precisely assess childcare facilities, interview staff and caregivers. Doing this will help you learn the strength and weakness of each childcare centre. With the help of a well-chosen centre, your baby will flourish and grow into a healthy and happy child.