5 TIPS FOR CHOOS­ING child­care

Mother & Baby (Australia) - - The Buzz -

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.

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