By Emma Thomas – Full-time mum to an 18-month-old, part-time blogger and writer, with a background as a Kindy Teacher/Director
Choosing a place to leave your baby or young child can be stressful or exciting, depending on your experience. Consider that you are choosing a new extension of your family, somewhere that your child will grow, develop new relationships and make friends and memories.
Here are some important things to think about:
What was your first impression when you walked in the door (or even when you entered the carpark!). You will be visiting the centre a lot so you want somewhere that you feel happy when you walk in the door. Have a look around, do other families seem happy? Do staff look stressed or engaged? First impressions matter and we need to trust our instincts as parents.
Your child’s educators will be the grown ups your children spend the most time with apart from you. When you tour a centre you usually only get a few minutes in each room, so ask to be introduced to your child’s educators. You won’t be able to get to know them during a tour, but you will get a sense about them. Do they seem caring? Do you think you’d be able to develop a good relationship with them?
The space that children spend their time in affects their learning and experience. You want somewhere that you feel comfortable and happy when you arrive. Is the centre clean and tidy? Are there plenty of toys and resources available for children and are these set up in an inviting way? Do you think the educators take pride in their rooms and outdoor play spaces? Does the centre feel warm like home or clinical like a hospital?
What is involved in a day at the centre? What sort of activities and experiences will your child be offered? Does the centre adhere strongly to an educational philosophy and how does this impact their daily practice? Look for a centre that follows the needs and interests of children, providing opportunities for each child to develop at their own pace. Young children need plenty of time to develop relationships with educators and peers. Being outdoors is vital for children. Does the centre give children plenty of opportunities to connect with nature and enjoy the outdoors?
How does the centre let you know what has happened during the day? Do they share photos and updates with families? It is important for you to know what is happening in your child’s day and to be able to contribute to the educational program by sharing your child’s interests and what is happening in your lives. Look for a centre that values communication with families and makes this a priority.
No matter how wonderful a centre is, if you can’t get there easily it won’t work for you. Most families will be arriving and leaving during peak hour, multiple days per week. You may want to look for a centre that is close to your home or close to your work. Consider what you will do if your child needs to be picked up during the middle of the day and if any other families members will be helping with transport.
You get what you pay for, while in some cases this is true, ,make sure you have a deeper look at the centre and what it offers. Some centres are all inclusive, providing meals, nappies, hats and sheets! Other centres offer extra programs like sports or music. However these often come at a higher daily fee so you need to consider carefully. Prices also tend to increase as you move towards the city centre.
‘The Icing on the Cake’
Every centre offers its own unique selling point, maybe they are connected to the school you want your child to attend, they might run a bush kindy program or have a professional chef who cooks with the children. Think about what your priorities as a family are and try and find a centre that aligns with these.
Visiting centres will give you a sense of what is out there. Once you have chosen you can begin the orientation and transition process. This will help your child to build good relationships with the educators and enable them to settle quickly.
At Kenmore Hills Early Learning, we believe in Wildhood
Bringing back the Wildhood is all about connecting children to nature!
Kenmore Hills Early Learning is a place where your child can learn, play and discover the wonder of ‘wildhood’.
The early years are the most critical stage of a child’s development and as Early Childhood Educators we have a responsibility to do all we can to optimise a child’s experience during their time with us.
Children are capable of extraordinary things. Our Centre and our programs, combined with the wealth of experience of our staff, encourages hands-on learning, independence, resilience, self-discovery and collaboration and nurtures children’s natural desire for understanding, knowledge and respect. We aim to inspire children
Book a tour today and come and see what makes our centre so special