Early education centres are great for those who have work and no one to care for the children or for those who want to introduce their children to childcare earlier or to help develop social skills.
When it comes to finding the best solution for your child, you need to start by knowing what your options are.
There are different types of early education centres, and you will need to choose which one is most suited for your family. Each centre will be different from the next and come with their individual particularities.
The types of early learning centres:
- Family day-care
- After-hours care
- Long day-care
All of the above will have specific regulations in place that need to be followed to ensure that the child remains safe and gets given the appropriate opportunities to develop and learn. All these services will need to meet a range of regulations and laws to operate, including quality standards.
How to choose a service
While it can be exciting getting your children ready for preschool, it can also be overwhelming for both the parents and the child. Preparing for early education ahead of time can help you prepare for it better. And early childhood services help prepare for them.
How long do you need it for? Consider how many hours and how many days a week you need the childcare services for.
Is there a waiting list? Popular centres will often have a waiting list; therefore, you should enlist in more than one to ensure you get a spot sooner than later.
Take a visit. Have you found an education centre that caters to early years and childcare suited for your child? Visit the place and see how your child feels in the layout. You want to ensure you are putting your options into balance.
Questions that are important to ask
- What hours do they operate?
- Do they close over public holidays?
- Can I visit my child or call them during the day?
- Am I charged fees when my child is not attending?
- Do I need to provide meals, nappies and snacks?
- What is the ratio of staff to the children?
- What experience and skills do the staff have?
- Has the service been quality rated?
- What ages do the services cover?
- How can I be assured that learning is encouraged?
- What are the policies and procedures?
- Do I qualify for subsidies and other financial assistance?
Can a child with additional needs attend early education centres?
It can be a little difficult to find centres that cater to individual needs. You want to find an education centre that is also supportive of the family and child. It can be stressful for children and their parents to adapt to new environments and how they are going to interact with the other children. Talk with each centre and find out how they manage children with special needs and how they teach the other children about the different special needs that children have.
You will need to look around and analyse the different early learning centres to find one that is suited for your needs and those of your children. Try not to just accept the first one as there may be better options, affordability and learning programs at different centres.