5 TIPS FOR CHOOSING childcare
Handing your precious bundle of joy over to a new carer is never easy, particularly when you’re heading back to work after maternity leave. Luckily, The Childcare Guide, a collaboration between 460 childcare centres across Australia, has been created to help you choose the best fit for your family.
1 Types of childcare.
From long day care and family day care to occasional care and having a nanny, the type of care you choose should be appropriate for you and your child’s needs. It’s good to know how each type of care should operate and if they are government approved.
2 The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF)
All government-approved childcare services follow a properly developed curriculum – the EYLF. It’s important you have a basic understanding of the EYLF so you can be sure it’s being implemented at the childcare service of your choice.
3 Quality ratings
The National Quality Framework (NQF) is a great way to compare childcare services. The NQF is an agreement between all states and territory governments to work together to provide better educational and developmental outcomes for children. It means that all government-approved facilities (long day care and family day care) should meet certain standards in order to receive one of the quality ratings: excellent; exceeding national quality standard; meeting national quality standard; working towards national quality standard; significant improvement required.
4 Kindergarten and preschool program
As your child approaches the age of four, you’ll need to make a decision on where to enrol them for that all-important transition to ‘big school’. Most long day care centres offer kindergarten/preschool programs with longer operating hours than standalone kindergartens and preschools. Consider whether your choice of childcare caters for the school transition and what their programs involve.
5 Government assistance
What government assistance is available and how it all works could be an important factor in choosing your childcare. For example, it’s good to know that if you choose a childcare provider that is government approved you could be eligible for the Child Care Benefit and/or Child Care Rebate.
The Childcare Guide has a great checklist of questions you can go through when considering a childcare centre, and also offers two complimentary days of childcare through participating centres.
Visit www.thechildcareguide.com.au for more information.