We know how important the early years of a child’s life are to their development. Their curiosity, emotional stability, sociability and other aspects of their behaviour and personality begin to form during this time. So, what should you look for in a childcare centre to make sure it gives your child the best start in life?
Here are 7 things to check and ensure they get right.
- A Safe Environment
First and foremost you need your child to be and feel safe in the centre. When you visit, inspect the physical space and watch how the children interact. Does it feel like a safe and secure space? Make sure the environment is safe when it comes to any hazards, electrical equipment and food handling. Cleanliness and overall feel of the centre is also very important, does the environment feel clean and fresh, or does it feel sterile and dull?
- A Sense of Fun
Are the staff engaged? Are there plenty of stimulating, age-appropriate activities, play areas, toys. books and more? Is there lots of space for the infants to crawl around in, or desk space for the older kids to try their hand at arts and craft?
- A Suitable Curriculum
Do the children follow a somewhat structured curriculum or is it more flowing and child-directed? You may have different ideas about what works best, but make sure your centre’s curriculum fits your preferred approach.
Make sure the staff are qualified and look for a low staff turnover if possible. Staff consistency is important and ideal for your child to develop relationships. Watch how the staff interact with others and ensure that they communicate respectfully, no matter how young the child is. Trust your intuition when it comes to assessing the staff.
- Low Ratio of Caregivers to Children
Make sure the ratio of caregivers to children is high enough that you feel confident your child will be supervised properly. Find out what the ratio is and talk to the centre to ensure that it’s adequate.
- Clear Rules
A centre that’s professional and organised will have clear rules and procedures in place. Make sure they have sensible rules to ensure a safe and well-functioning centre.
Healthy food and good eating habits are essential for your child’s future health. Check their menus to make sure they offer nutritious meals and can cater to your child’s dietary requirements (or fussy eating habits).