Choosing The Right Child Care Centre For Your Child
Article by Ben Hurst
Choosing The Right Child Care Centre For Your Child – Education
When you become a parent, there are many important things to take into consideration. These days, many families can’t afford to have a stay at home parent. This means that decisions about child care often need to be taken into account at an early stage. New Zealand has a very well organised and well funded child care system which many parents take advantage of. One of the best things about choosing between the many child care centres throughout New Zealand is that there is a huge range of choices. Wherever you live, it is likely that you will have at least two or three nearby child care centres to choose from. This leads to the important question of how to choose the right centre for your particular child.The age of your child could be a deciding factor because some centres take babies and infants and others only take older preschoolers. So when you are considering child care choices, it’s a good idea to make sure that the centres you are looking at can actually cater for your child.If you have a few child care centres to choose from, the next step is to visit each centre to evaluate it from the point of view of you and your child. Early childhood education is such an important part of every child’s development that the decision is just as important as the decision about which school your child will attend. Factors to take into consideration when visiting centres include cleanliness, equipment, staff, values, policies and how comfortable you feel in each setting. When you visit each centre, imagine that you have decided on that centre. Imagine leaving your child there and walking away. Do you feel comfortable with your decision? If not, another centre may be more appropriate for your child.Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you visit the child care centres in your area. Here are some of the questions you might like to ask – and make sure you listen carefully to the answers! What is the staff to child ratio? What qualifications do staff members have? Who is called in to replace staff who are unwell? What values and philosophies underpin the running of the centre? Does my child need to bring their own food, or are meals served? What hours is the centre open? What is the policy about children coming to the centre when they are unwell? How long has the centre been open? It may also be a good idea to visit the centre when other parents are there so you can ask them how happy they are with the centre, what things they would like changed and why they chose this centre over others in the area. Word of mouth is a great help in making a decision when you have several child care centres to choose from.In the end, the best centre for your child will be the one where you and your child feel happiest. Don’t rush the decision and don’t rush the transition. It’s a big move and your child will probably need your help to adjust.