Finding the right day care or kinder program for your three and four year old is the start of many decisions parents make on the long road to provide the best educational opportunities for their children.
Having listened to endless conversations with parents of young children about where to go, when to go and which one to choose, it’s clear that choosing is not as simple as years ago.
In the past there may have been less understanding of the importance of preschool education, less choice of centres and less competition for places. Even now, working parents may have a smaller range of preschools to choose from as location and travel narrow options to fit in with a busy overcrowded life.
Your child comes first, so what’s the most important things to look for.
From a practical point of view, parents often do not have a wide range of pre-schools to choose from because of location, cost or local demand for places. However, given the flexibility to chose from a wide range of local kinders and preschools, there are some important aspects which will help you narrow down your choices.
Firstly there are a variety of types of child care and pre-school options including support from grandparents, or shared nannies or parents who share the care of friends children along with their own.
As outlined below, preschools and kinders are under legislation so that there is an expected level of safety for children. Police checks are part of employment. If you are using a nanny or leaving your child with a friend or, a friend of a friend, then you would be wise to look through the following website referenced to ensure that the carers will indeed be appropriate to look after for your child.
A national framework
When looking for a pre-school or kinder for your child, it is important to know that there is a National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care (https://www.education.gov.au/national-quality-framework-early-childhood-education-and-care-1) which outlines national standards of expected care in all types of facilities. Pre-school, day care and kinder facilities are also registered and accredited through the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (https://www.acecqa.gov.au/ ) so parents can use these websites to see if their kinder of choice has an adequate rating.
Reading through the website will give you a very good idea of what to look for in a good pre-school.
With this knowledge, the next step would be to speak with friends to see if they are happy with their local pre-school. You know your friends well and no doubt trust their opinion.
However, all our children are different and yours may need a different environment, a quieter environment or a more creative environment.
Despite reading the brochures and hearing from your friends, it is always wise for parents to visit and speak with staff about the specific needs of their child. Even easy going children need a nurturing environment and one in which you as parent can have trust.