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Thread: What did you look for when selecting a child care centre?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default What did you look for when selecting a child care centre?

    Hi everyone,
    I am thinking I will probably be ready to go back to work when Zac reaches about 12 months of age which is August this year.
    I will be wanting to go back 2 or 3 days a week.
    I will be working in town which is approx 35 - 45 mins by car and about the same by train. DH also works in town.
    I am wondering which might work best, care close to home, or care close to work?
    Places will be much harder to get in the city I think.
    I am going to have a look at a couple of places close to home on Thursday, what did you look for when you looked for a place?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jul 2006


    When I went back to work after DS1, he was in day care near work and it worked really well. The three of us (DH, DS and I) drove in to town together so we had extra family time, and DH and I went to the day care centre every lunch time to see DS (until he moved up a room and lunchtime was sleep time). Also there was never a rush to pick him up before closing. Now both boys are in daycare near home and it's less convenient, but not too bad. Only one time did DH and I both have late meetings then we got stuck in a traffic jam - we just made it there at 3 minutes to 6 (closing time).

    The things I would look for most of all are the way the carers relate to the kids, how they relate to you (do you feel like you could get along with them and trust them with your kids) etc, and also what type of facilities they have - will they be stimulated enough etc. It might take more than one visit to be sure, but first impressions count for a lot. We are very lucky, both centres we have used have been fantastic. Also bear in mind that the centre is only as good as it's staff, so be wary of frequent staff changes - it wouldn't hurt to ask about turnover up front. GL, it's a hard decision.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Dandy Ranges ;)


    Also ask about the waiting lists - we were on a list since November 2006 (when I was still preggers) and start care this week ...

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    NSW Central Coast


    What should I be looking for?
    Your choice of child care service may be influenced by a number of different factors and families seeking quality care for children are encouraged to consider what the best questions to ask are and what to look for in a child care service. You may also wish to ask yourself the following questions:

    • Is the centre Accredited? Ask to see its Certificate of Accreditation and Quality Profile.It is accreditation in NSW, it may be calle something different in your state.
    • Do carers speak with children in a warm and friendly way?
    • What orientation process is available to my family? What will happen on my child’s first day?
    • How will I be made aware of staff changes? Who do I speak with about my child?
    • How will my child be supervised? How will my child be supervised when playing with older, bigger children?
    • What activities will my child be doing? How are these activities decided?
    • What feedback will I be given about my child’s day and how will this information be communicated?
    • Is there a written program on display? How can my family be involved in the planning and evaluation of the program?
    • How does the program cater to the individual needs or additional needs of my child?
    • How will my child’s ideas and opinions be listened to and acted upon?
    • Do toys, equipment and activities available offer my child choice and meet his/her interests and
    • Are there opportunities for my child to participate in activities where they can explore real life tasks? For example, personal hygiene and mealtimes.
    • Are there spaces for my child to be involved in active noisy play as well as space for quiet play?
    • Are the outdoor and indoor environment and equipment interesting, secure, safe and clean?
    • What is the behaviour guidance policy and how do carers handle situations where children are
    fighting, crying, or being uncooperative?
    • Who is responsible for providing food and drinks for my child? Is the food provided adequate and nutritious? How will my child’s special dietary requirements be provided for?
    • Is there written information on policies and procedures available for families? How can my family access this information?
    • What happens if my child requires medication? What if my child becomes sick or has an accident whilst in care?
    • Who is responsible for providing my child’s nappies? Is the nappy change area clean? Is the nappy change procedure displayed?
    • How will my child be assisted with toilet training?
    • How will I be informed of my child’s individual eating patterns and sleep routine?
    • What will happen if my child is still having a bottle or being breast fed?
    • What are the sleeping arrangements for my child? What happens if my child does not want to sleep?

    These ideas are off the ncac website if you want moe info. As I said, this process is for NSW, but it has lots of relevant information for any parent.
    HTH and good luck

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 2004


    Kelliem thanks for those tips

  6. #6


    I agree with MantaRay that first impressions count. When DD was getting ready to start kindy, I went to 1 of 3 places in town and found that they had an 'open door' policy for the kids which meant they were free to run in and out of the centre to the fenced play ground whenever they wanted. When they walked out the back to show me the playground, I looked down to see a little hole in the ground which any child could've lost their foot in! Helped me make up my mind where DD would most definately not be going anyway


  7. #7

    Join Date
    May 2004


    Another one for first impressions here.
    I just spent three months looking for a centre for DD as we felt she was ready to move on from Family daycare. I was super picky and I can't tell you how many centres I walked into and pretty much walked straight back out. God there's some dodgy places around - grubby, bored staff, kids running riot. NO way.

    When I found the right centre I knew within a few minutes of walking in there. I felt completely welcome, the director was lovely, the teachers engaged and interested (and not stressed out looking - can't tell you how many stressed out daycare staff I've seen lately...), it was clean and organised and smelt nice and the kids were all clean and happy. The babies and toddlers had their own seperate play area, and the play areas for older kids had lots of clean, safe equipment. The rooms were well resourced and they have great learning plans etc. Just everything was exactly how I expected it and I immediately felt it was "right".
    DD is absolutely loving it so far and we're really happy with it. Go with your gut.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    May 2006


    Thanks everyone for your input and suggestions!

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jan 2005


    The NCAC website will have some really helpful info on what to look for and what questions to ask.
    I made a out a big list and took it with me, but TBH I knew about 2 minutes after walking into the centre whether I liked it or not.
    In the end what impressed me about DS' daycare was

    -the director was very approachable, she actually took my list of q's adnd adressed them all individually, I was there for at least 45mins with her looking at the rooms and children etc.
    There was a good mix of staff ages groups and a high staff retention rate.
    The relationships I observed between the staff and the children were great.
    - the centre was well maintained. It wasnt new and shiny but it was looked after
    - they employ a full time chef and prepare everything fresh.
    - they have behavioural management techniques in place and work with parents to help childrens behavoural issues resolve (This was very handy when DS was biting..)

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