When touring childcare centres for the first time it can be overwhelming. What does a good centre look like? How should it feel? What should you look out for? As the saying goes, ‘first impressions’ count, but taking the time to ask deeper questions and really find out what your early education and childcare centre has to offer you and your child will always be time well spent.
Our goal at all our Lifelong Learning Centres is to always provide a warm welcome and reassurance to new families. This guide will help make sure you ask all the important questions when considering if a childcare centre is right for your family.
- What are the opening hours of the centre?
- What sessions are available – can my child attend shorter periods?
- Is there a minimum number of days my child needs to be enrolled?
- Does the centre offer flexible or casual days of care?
- How can I book in these extra days if I need them?
- What is included in the daily fees?
- How will the Child Care Subsidy reduce your daily fees?
- Does the centre offer care 52 weeks of the year?
- Do you offer free Stay and Play sessions before enrolling?
What to look out for: Most families will gain the most benefit from childcare that responds to your personal situation and allows flexibility for when ‘life’ happens. The more’ inclusions’ a centre can provide, the less you have to think about, and the option to book casual days is always a benefit.
- Who are the educators and teachers that will be with my child?
- What kind of ongoing training and development do the educators receive?
- How will my child’s educator communicate with me each day?
- What special activities and interests do the educators encourage?
- Do external providers or programs come into the centre for activities and incursions?
What to look out for: Smiles! Educators are always busy and engaged with the children, and are legally required to be supervising at all times. But a friendly smile, and the overall impression of enjoying their job, should be something you can observe during your tour.
Teaching and learning
- What educational programs are in place for each age group?
- What teaching and learning style do educators follow?
- How do educators support children’s individual interests?
- What evidence will I receive of my child’s learning and development?
- What enrichment programs are on offer? What are the Healthy Children programs here?
- What are the various learning spaces and environments available for my child to explore?
- Does the centre provide programs for school readiness? (Preschool or Kindergarten)
What to look out for: Evidence of children’s learning experiences should be displayed and accessible for families.
- How do families remain connected with the fun and learning happening each day?
- Are families invited to be part of the centre community?
- Do you have family events?
- How does the centre connect with the local community?
What to look for: The Centre Manager should be able to clearly show and explain how they communicate with families and the local community – for example, in newsletters, emails, on Storypark and through events and activities.
Policies and Procedures * How does the centre manage allergies? * What is the policy for illnesses and absences? * What educator-to-child ratios are in place for each age group?
What to look out for: Policies and regulations should be clearly available to families, and a commitment to support children with additional or different needs should be obvious.
Find your local Lifelong Learning Centre today, and book a tour! Our friendly teams are ready to welcome you and your family.