THINGS TO ASK WHEN TOURING AN EARLY LEARNING CENTRE
Children’s first five years are absolutely crucial for their developing brains and recent research into brain science has revealed some truly stunning facts and figures.
In a baby’s first year for example, their brain will double in size with more than 1,000,000 (yes, that’s 1 million!) new neural connections formed every second.
We’ve made a couple of videos which highlight these amazing findings (which you can see here). It really highlights the vital role that parents and carers play, and the importance of choosing a high quality childcare centre.
To find out more about the indicators of quality in childcare centres, we asked Goodstart’s National Quality Manager, Tara Harnett, to explain what parents should look for when touring a centre.
What should parents ask?
Ensuring Australia’s childcare centres are of a high standard is the responsibility of The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) and the state and territory governments.
In a nutshell, ACECQA works with state and territory governments to ensure consistency in how the National Quality Framework (NQF) is applied, while the state and territory governments assess and rate individual childcare services against the National Quality Standard (NQS).
Its complex, I know! You can learn more about how childcare quality is managed and assessed here, and while it’s not practical or necessary for parents to become experts in this field a few basic pointers can really help you determine if the centre you’re considering is high quality.
Here are some considerations to observe or ask about when you’re on your centre tour:
- Does the centre have a happy and energetic vibe?
- Are the staff passionate, qualified and experienced?
- Does the centre have a plan to ensure families receive regular communication about their child’s development?
- Does the educational program cater to the needs of children at different stages of development?
- What are the steps or processes taken to ensure children’s safety and wellbeing?
- How is the environment designed to stimulate learning?
- How does the centre work with families to understand needs, routines or cultural practices?
- Do staff receive regular training and professional development opportunities?
Quality is about much more than how a centre looks, and asking these questions will help you to dig a little deeper and beyond your first impressions.
For the sake of your child’s development and your own peace of mind it’s worth a little extra effort prior to enrolling.