Bringing your child to a daycare facility for the first time can be an experience filled with mixed emotions.
After all, you’re essentially leaving your baby for most of the day – it’s natural for your parental instincts to kick in and for you to worry about what’s going to happen.
While we can’t help you with the complex emotions, we believe that the right prep work can make the transition easier, not only for you but for your kids as well.
And that starts by choosing the right childcare centre, daycare or early learning facility.
And while our blog usually speaks to prospective students, this week, we’re speaking to parents too.
We hope we can better align both educators and parents when it comes to what to expect from a childcare centre (and importantly for carers, what parents are really looking for before they enrol in your centre!)
So whether you’re a new parent thinking about childcare, or a student searching for a rewarding career, we encourage you to read on!
What should parents look for when choosing childcare?
Early childhood education and care is still among the fastest-growing industries in Australia, with expected growth of 22%, resulting in at least 9,000 jobs in 2023.
As such, there have been a lot of new childcare centres, daycare facilities and early childhood centres that have popped up over recent years to service this growing demand.
While it means that you have more options, it also means that it can be harder for parents to find a facility that meets their personal standards.
Some of the things that childcare facilities must ensure to give high-quality care are:
- Certified and licensed childcare educators
- Engaging and stimulating activities
- Active involvement in childhood development
- Continuous quality improvement
- Age-appropriate curriculum
And the following are what parents are on the look-out for…
Safety and security
Safety and security are one of the first things that comes to mind when looking for a daycare facility. Your child is going to be there for hours – you need to have complete confidence that they are in a secure environment.
And we aren’t just talking about things like fencing or CCTV either (though both are very important).
Specifically, we’re talking about measures to protect children from injury. As you’ve probably found out the hard way, kids are very accident prone.
Keep an eye out for padded corners, play equipment designed with safety in mind, ramps in place of stairs and gates to ensure kids don’t wander off into areas they aren’t allowed to.
Cleanliness and hygiene
A clean and well-maintained childcare facility is an absolute must – and not just for aesthetic reasons either.
Young children’s immune systems are still developing, meaning that ordinary viruses, illnesses, and bacteria that a healthy adult could shake off relatively easily are much more likely to harm their young bodies.
The best protection against these is cleanliness – and even more so following the events of 2020.
Friendly and welcoming atmosphere
What will a parent’s first impression be the moment they walk into your centre?
Are they left awkwardly waiting in the lobby for someone to attend to them? Or are they warmly greeted with a big smile and friendly persona?
One of the things that parents should look for is a homey and friendly atmosphere. That’s because childcare also acts as a place for children to meet other kids and develop vital social and communication skills.
And one of the best ways to do this is through interaction with other kids.
In particular, pay close attention to how well a teacher connects with your child, too.
When educators complete their childcare course in Melbourne, they’re taught how to communicate not only when kids, but with their parents too. The two methods are not the same, but nevertheless, both channels are critical to the overall experience.
Have an inspection or tour coming up? If so, you’ll want to ask about what sorts of learning frameworks and techniques they use.
There’s a whole world of different teaching and learning strategies. As such, it’s crucial to ensure that any facility you’re looking at is using the latest ones, and has experience in applying them.
Be sure to ask for specific names. Moreover, remember to ask about what those techniques are intended to achieve.
What questions should an early learning educator ask parents?
They say that job interviews are a two-way street, allowing potential employees to find out if they’ve found the right place for them.
And in a way, we guess you could consider a parent’s childcare tour as an interview of sorts!
For any childcare workers reading this, you’ll want to make sure you ask parents questions too, such as…
- Has the child been in a daycare facility before, or is it for the first time?
- Does the child have any health issues?
- What are your child’s interests?
- How do you handle behavioural issues at home?
- Who do we contact in case of an emergency?
- What do you expect from a childcare centre?
How do I prepare my child for daycare?
Enrolling in daycare is a huge milestone – not only that, but the first day of childcare can be particularly scary or confusing for your children.
To reduce the amount of stress your child will feel, it’s crucial that you prepare your child for daycare so that they will be ready physically, mentally and emotionally.
What does that involve?
Tip #1: Let the child meet daycare and childcare workers
Daycare teachers and childcare workers play a very important role in your child’s new environment. Since they are the ones that your child will spend most of their time, it simply makes sense to get them acquainted with each other.
This will help make the connection, and establish childcare workers as someone that your child can trust and feel comfortable around, helping them once it’s time to start for real.
Tip #2: Visit the daycare more than once before day one starts
On top of meeting childcare workers and helping your kids get used to them, it can also help to familiarise them with the location as well.
That way, when the big day comes, it won’t be a scary new place but somewhere they’re already familiar with!
Tip #3: Plan drop off and pick up
Dropping off your child to daycare may cause drama especially if they are shedding tears and not coping very well.
The above tips can help – of course, planning the first drop-off can also help.
It can be a good idea to turn up ahead of time so that your child will have more time to get acquainted with the new room and teachers.
Additionally, it can help if you decide to stick around for a little bit while your child gets used to everything.
Tip #4: Bring a familiar item from home
Whether it’s their favourite toy like a teddy bear or a special blanket, giving them something familiar to hold onto will allow your child to feel comfortable as they head into childcare for the first time.
Doing so will lessen their anxiety and can make them feel that the daycare centre is an extension of the home.
Tip #5: communicate
If your child is old enough, make sure to talk to them about what daycare is and why they will be attending, what fun things they can expect to happen and all the new friends they’ll meet.
Having an open conversation can help reduce any anxiety they have in the lead-up.
Most importantly, there’s the matter of trust. Leaving your child at child care without warning can be extremely stressful.
Of course, it isn’t just communication in the lead-up that matters – even after the day is done, make sure to ask what they did during the day, who they met, and what they learned.
Become a qualified childcare educator today – enrol in Academia’s childcare courses!
Maybe you aren’t a parent at all, but someone who’s looking for a new opportunity. And based on everything you’ve just read, childhood education sounds pretty promising…
Are you starting a career in childcare, or do you have plans of upskilling? Then let Academia become a part of your lifelong career.
Academia offers childcare courses in Melbourne to help you become the best childcare educator you can be!
Best of all, eligible Victorian students are covered by Skills First funding. You’ll be able to complete one of our free online childcare courses at a fully accredited institute.
(Find out if you are eligible for skills first funding here.)
Certificate III in Early Childhood Development and Care
If you want to be a certified childcare provider, then one best way to do so is to start by enrolling in a Certificate III in Early Childhood and Education Care in Melbourne.
This course provides you with basic knowledge and skills you need to learn before working in a childcare facility, as well as a real-world placement for you to put your training to the test.
This childcare course will help you deal with day-to-day tasks of taking care of children:
- Providing care and assistance
- Different childhood development frameworks
- Physical and cognitive development theories
- Emergency first aid response
- Work health and safety
- Creating an encouraging, positive, and respectful relationship with the children
And if you want to take your career further, you can always follow up with the Diploma.
Diploma of Early Childhood Development and Care
And if you’re dreaming of starting your daycare or leading a team of childcare educators, a Diploma in Early Childhood and Education Care in Melbourne can be just what you need to get there.
This course is designed to provide you with higher-level skills that you’ll need to:
- Implement a course curriculum that encourages children’s learning and development
- Manage day-to-day operations
- Meet your legal requirements
- Perform management tasks like business planning and budgeting
Got questions about our childcare courses? Call Academia today!
If you have any questions about our childcare courses in Melbourne or Brisbane, our friendly team at Academia is more than happy to answer any questions that you may have.
Contact us on (03) 9671 4755 to find out how we can help you! Alternatively, you can enquire online now.