Knowing how to identify a quality long day care centre for your child is not an easy task. Parents must know what questions to ask in order to uncover the best centres and find the right fit. We have compiled some advice, tips and a list of questions to ask to help make your task easier.
What is a long day care centre?
A long day care is a service that provides all day or part time care for working families. They offer development and care programs and usually provide meals. Children who are enrolled are typically under schooling age.
What you should expect from a quality long day care centre:
- Valuable play and learning experiences.
- A consistent and caring relationship between the staff and children.
- The allowance of time for exploration and new activities for children.
- Support for social, emotional, physical and cognitive aspects of your child’s development.
- Clear and reasonable expectations of behaviour.
- Active involvement with families of the children.
- Open communication about your child.
Questions to ask long day care centre staff
Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions. The staff’s response or changes in their demeanour can reveal a great deal about the centre.
We recommend starting with questions like the following:
- How are parents kept up to date with what’s going on at the centre?
- Is family participation welcomed in weekly activities?
- What are the philosophies and values of the centre and its staff members?
- What are the fees?
- Are extended hours of care available?
- How will food and drink be provided?
- How will medication be handled and administered?
- Are you allowed to visit at any time?
- What is the ratio of qualified staff to children?
- What policies and standards does the centre operate to?
In addition to the questions above, ask yourself these questions as you tour the centre:
- Does the environment look inviting?
- Do the staff seem professional and charismatic?
- Are staff vigilantly looking after the children in their care?
- What are the other children like?
- Does it smell nice?
- Is it a place you would come back to?
Trust your instincts
Always trust your instincts when considering a long day care centre. After visiting the centre and getting answers to your questions, you should have a good idea whether to add it to your short list or rule it out completely.
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