Over the course of the last decade, the Childcare industry has evolved significantly towards the discipline of Early Childhood Education, in fact, Childcare itself nationally in Australia is now aligned to the Department of Education where previously it had been aligned to the Dept of Community Services (DOCS).
This shift in alignment has had a positive impact on the industry that now has to follow the strict guidelines provided by the Dept of Education which covers the broad spectrum of all operational and educational aspects of running a childcare service. Put simply, the industry is now Early Childhood Education.
Many first time parents looking for childcare are confused about what options are available and what is best for them and the needs of their child.
Put simply, Pre-Schools are to prepare children for Kindergarten, they follow school hours and are for ages 4-5.
Childcare Centres/Long Day Care Centres cater for ages 0-6 and normally operate from 7:30 am to 6 pm to cater to working parents. They also have preschool programs for the 4-6 age group and generally follow similar learning programs as the dedicated Preschools.
The other choice is called Family daycare which is usually run out of a family home with a maximum of 5 children allowed.
Like all choices in life, it is important to have all the information available to us so that we can make informed decisions.
When choosing a childcare facility it is important to look at their reputation and the Quality Rating that they have been assigned from the Department of Education which should be available on their website. Look for Centres that have either Exceeding Standards or Meeting Standards. There are some Centres that apply for a higher standards rating of Excellence, however, they are not common.
Other considerations should be the distance from work and home to make sure that the strict pickup times can be met and make sure that you book a tour with the Centres in your area to be shown around their service (usually done during operating hours) so that you can get a good feel for the culture of the service and the facilities that they offer.
Ask the Centre to share with you their philosophy and even explain to you how they operate based on their philosophy.
Like all Education facilities the teachers are critical to the quality of the service, so do not be afraid to ask how the staff are constantly learning and how they keep current with Early Childhood Education Industry changes.
Just remember that these early childhood years are the most important in your child's learning life and investing in good education will provide them with solid foundations for the rest of their life - your choice of Early Childhood Education Provider will essentially be an extension of you and be a part of your Child’s First Family.
The team at Turtletot Childcare in Bexley is passionate about Early Childhood Education and wish you all the best in your search. We are happy to answer any questions even if Bexley is not the location for you!