For most parents finding a safe space to leave their children while they return to work is a priority. And while there’s no shortage of affordable, accessible and reliable daycare, some centres are better than others. If you want to give your child the best start, look for high-quality childcare. So what is high-quality childcare?
At the end of the day, choosing a daycare centre will depend on your child’s age, needs and interests. However, if you’re wondering how to find good childcare this article is for you. We’ll help you differentiate between high and low-quality daycare and equip you with must-ask questions when looking for a supportive space for your infant, toddler or preschooler.
What to look for when finding a high-quality childcare
While the most important thing is feeling confident your child is in a safe and happy environment, this is what to look for in a daycare centre.
- The centre’s philosophy
Is it aligned with yours? Does it mimic the values you’d like to instil in your child? For example, the philosophy of a high-quality centre might be “to create an inclusive home away from home that provides a secure space for your child to develop at their own pace”.
- The atmosphere
What’s the feeling like when you enter the space? Does it feel organised and relaxed, or are the staff stressed and panicked? Are the rooms fresh, clean and modern? Does it offer a variety of tactile and interactive play stations such as water activities, gardening, cooking and painting, allowing children time to learn and explore?
- Open and honest communication
Can you comfortably discuss your child’s needs with the centre’s director, and do they believe your child will be a good fit? For example, can they support them if they need extra encouragement to come out of their shell? Don’t be afraid to ask what a typical day looks like and ensure it’s suitable for your child’s personality.
- Hygiene and cleanliness
Health and safety are usually top of mind when looking for good quality child care. Ask to see any sick-children policies and procedures, inspect their hand-washing facilities and look around to check the cleanliness of the space.
High-quality childcare for infants
It’s normal for any new parent to feel nervous leaving their 0-2-year-old at childcare. For peace of mind, look for a nursery that feels like an extension of your home with reliable, skilled and qualified staff trained to look after infants. Ensuring they’re regularly fed, changed and maintain their sleep routine.
High-quality childcare for toddlers
Toddlers are busy, independent and full of big emotions. A high-quality childcare centre for toddlers will offer a balance of planned activities and free play, encouraging them to learn, socialise and build self-awareness. At this age, 2-3-year-olds need kind, compassionate and supportive carers who can help foster independence through assisted feeding, clothing, toilet training, sharing and cleaning up. It’s also wise to look for a childcare centre focusing on education and providing early numeracy and literacy skills.
High-quality childcare for preschoolers
While most centres provide a safe space to leave your children, high-quality childcare for preschoolers will focus on preparing them for school. It will cater to children aged 3-6 years with different interests and abilities, offering structured activities and open independent play. With the shared goal of increasing your child’s self-reliance and resilience, empowering them to self-soothe, ask questions and involve themselves in their learning.
What is the difference between high-quality childcare and regular childcare?
In Australia, most daycare is safe, clean and reliable. However, when you want to know what is quality child care vs high-quality childcare the difference is usually in the additional services offered. If you’re wondering how to choose a daycare centre in your area, there are helpful tools like Toddle, which allow you to compare the centre’s features, reviews and NQS or childcare quality standards.
Nurturing, warm and caring staff
It’s about more than having qualified staff. You must also consider the staff’s treatment and if there is enough staff for the number of children. When you visit a centre, notice how busy the team is and how they interact with the children. Attributes of a good childcarer might include a loving nature, excellent communication and positive regard towards your child.
Supports all aspects of your child’s development
Any good daycare will focus on school readiness and learning; however, great centres will also support your child’s social, emotional and physical needs. They’ll offer various programs encompassing creativity, science, maths and literacy skills.
Nutritious meals prepared on-site by a qualified chef
While it’s common for care centres to provide children with food, what is good practice in childcare is understanding the importance of good nutrition. High-quality daycare will serve a variety of fresh and nutritious foods that cater to specific dietary needs while teaching the children about healthy eating and cooking.
Foreign language programs
As well as exposure to culturally diverse educators, a sign of high-quality care will be access to advanced education programs such as learning a foreign language.
How Should a Parent Feel in a High-Quality Childcare
When a parent enters a high-quality childcare centre, they should feel excited, relaxed and confident to leave their child. They should have peace of mind while at work that their child is safe and happy while developing social, cognitive, emotional and physical skills for the future.
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