While inspecting a Childcare Centre for the first time that potentially your child may attend you should get a feeling for the centre. What type and quality of care are they providing? In your own mind you have to decide if this care is what you want for your child. Will the environment they provide make your child’s time at the centre a happy one. A content child will connect and learn much faster.
To achieve this I suggest you spend as much time as you possibly can in the centre on your first visit. This is one of the most important decisions you will make for your young child.
The Childcare Centre Surroundings
The atmosphere of the childcare centre is so important. Your child will learn and grow much better in a relaxed and happy one where staff give them the attention they seek at that age.
A very good sign to look for is if you can hear laughter from the children while they play. It is a certain trait that some caretakers have that let children enjoy themselves while they play and learn. Another sign of a good childcare centre is if everything is clean, tidy and seems well-organized.
When you first arrived, did you and your child feel you were made feel welcome immediately by someone? Were you introduced to the main person that your child would spend the majority of their time with at the centre? It is this person as much as the management that is so important to how well your child settles into the childcare life and how well they learn.
Copy of Centre License
While there ask to see a copy of their license as it will tell you a lot. If the license has been issued by the authorities for a 2 year period, the centre has a rating with a high standard of care. If the license has only been issued for 1 year it could mean the centre has had problems meeting the minimum standards.
Childcare Centre Policy
While discussing your needs with the centre director, ask questions about their policies, their procedures, their values and their operational procedure guidelines. You should be able to obtain a written copy.
Before making a final decision, read through them and if you have doubts about anything, now is the time to ask them to explain further until you are happy with the explanation you receive.
Childcare Centre Equipment
The quantity and type of play equipment that the children can use is very import and reflects on the standard of the centre. The play equipment must be age appropriate as well as having enough for each age group. If the centre is lacking in equipment it will only cause upset among the children as they all want the same item.
An important factor today is the number and quality of the digital devices available to the children including computers. Ask what software programs they have and what is the learning outcome of each program. Observe if the children are well supervised while using the devices.
Outdoor Play Area
The centre should have a well planned outdoor play area protected from any harsh weather that your area may encounter such as hot sun, snow or cold winds. A well-maintained sandpit would be an added feature that I would suggest that you consider as a need.
You must be comfortable that you can trust the Childcare Centre to be your child’s minder, caretaker and teacher for possibly the next few years. Think beyond the age your child is today and be convinced that this childcare centre will take your child’s learning to their full potential over the next two to three years.