Choosing The Right Early Learning Centre For Your Child

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    Daycare or other forms of childcare or early education can be a lifesaver, especially for parents who cannot take a lot of time off from work and whose families are out of reach. When searching for the best solution for your child, start by understanding what your options are.

    There are multiple types of early education and childcare - how do you choose the best one for your child(ren)? Although similar in the types of activities they undertake, you should pay close attention when choosing an early learning centre for your child, as each of them comes with its own particularities.

    Below you can learn more about the different types of education and care for early childhood, as well as the most important questions to ask before choosing a service. 

    Parents face the dilemma of choosing which preschool or childcare centre to send their children to when they become toddlers. Choosing the school that meets the needs of the child has to be done with great care, as attending a preschool is the first instance where the child has to be separated from their parents or from the caregiver who takes care of them while their parents are at work.

    The preschool years are considered as the most critical years in the learning experience of a child. In addition, the people who handle the child's early learning activities will influence their attitude towards schooling. So there is a need to make meticulous research and plenty of inquiries when finding the right preschool for your child.

    Whether you choose a formal childcare centre, family daycare, or in-home care, there are some basic things you should know and insist upon. To help you make this all-important decision, we've talked to mothers and other experts who have been in the childcare trenches. Here are eight ways to size up a childcare option.

    Children need to be in an environment that is empowering, nurturing, comfortable and safe! For this reason, when choosing the right daycare centre for your little one, the decision must be in their best interest.

    We understand sending your child to a daycare centre after being at home is a big step. It is a major change for both yourself and your child. The key objective is to ensure a seamless transition from their home life to daycare. This is why at Young Academics Early Learning Centre, we pride ourselves on being a "home away from home".

    How To Choose The Best Child Care? 

    ​Choosing the right child care can be difficult. Your decision will depend on your family's needs and the environment where you and your child feel most comfortable.

    As well as providing care, child care services provide an opportunity for your child to develop social, emotional and learning skills.

    Every family is different, so it's important to think about your own family needs when choosing child care for your child.

    General guidelines on choosing a service:

    As exciting as it is to get ready for preschool or kindergarten, it may also be an overwhelming time for you and your child. It is better to prepare for this ahead of time to make things easier: the earlier you start preparing, the better.

    • How long? Think about how many hours or on what days you will need childcare services.
    • What? Know each type of available care service, and decide which suits you best. It should be in tune with your lifestyle but at the same time a good fit for your child: daycare, long daycare centres, preschools, outside school hours care etc.
    • Is there a waiting list? Most care services have a waiting list, therefore choose several daycare solutions and enlist in more than one. Thus, your chances of finding a service you are happy with are better.
    • Visit. Have you found a service that works for you? Don't decide until you visit the place: ask questions about the service, request details. A perfect service for others might not be good for your family, so look around and put your options in balance.

    Importance of Finding A Early Learning Centre For Your Child 

    Brain development in children

    The ages of 1 to 3 offer amazing opportunities for learning and growth as young brains rapidly expand, absorb and adapt to the world they are discovering around them. Your toddler, while in care, will love getting to know their teacher, who is trained to encourage child-led play. This developmental stage plays a vital role in healthy brain development, and childcare centres must aim to create a wonderland of play-based early learning environments and experiences. Early interactions with family, educators, and other children will shape the way your child thinks, feels, acts and connects with others. This experience will also affect how well your child does in school.

    Research shows quality early education is extremely valuable in the first five years of a child's life, as it lays a foundation for a lifetime of learning.

    When choosing a childcare centre, you as the parent have the right to expect it will provide a safe, supportive place for your child's self-identity and awareness to grow. Educators in your choice of the centre must value each child's individual interests and opinions and treat them with respect and love. The play-based experiences a toddler has in daycare are where the real learning happens!

    Before choosing a centre, ask, does it provide:

    • Gentle introductions to early childhood learning environments
    • Trusting, caring connections with qualified educators
    • Opportunities for early socialisation with other babies
    • Motivation for your child to communicate and engage with the world around them
    • Singing, music and soothing environments
    • Sensory stimulation to spark your child's curiosity

    Developing School Readiness

    Once school starts to come into view, it is important to have a clear pathway. Ensuring your child feels comfortable in a classroom environment and has a desire to engage in learning and with their educators and peers is crucial at this point in their lives.

    A child's experience with their childcare provider can affect their speech development and social behaviour. Studies show that children who receive quality childcare do better in school and better prepare for reading and math. Also, they are more curious, are better communicators and problem solvers, and are more confident.

    To be sure your child is getting the best start for school, ask if they:

    • Have a state-government approved preschool or kindergarten program
    • Teach your child about responsibility, emotions, and respect
    • Allow children to explore their own self-identity and identify their own interests
    • Incorporate literacy, numeracy, science and enrichment programs into their curriculum
    • Keep parents updated daily, weekly and monthly on their child's progress emotionally as well as academically
    • Connect with local primary schools and provide transition statements for children
    • Host parent information sessions throughout the year
    • Provide healthy physical, mental and social activities and events for children
    • Teach children vital self-help skills such as toileting, dressing and lunchbox preparation
    • Allow children to participate in community excursions to create connections
    • Celebrate children's 'Graduation' from their School Readiness program as a milestone event before transitioning to 'big school.'
    • Allow your toddler to explore and experiment in indoor and outdoor learning environments

    Building A Love Of Lifelong Learning

    High-quality childcare centres should be easily identified by the fact that they provide a warm and loving environment for fun play-based learning. Research has shown that emotional strength and well-being and a love of learning can be developed well before children can fully express themselves verbally. Early childhood educators believe they are building futures from the very first day of education and care they provide.

    Your child's earliest emotional, social, and physical experiences will directly impact their future resilience and well-being. In addition, their skills in care will help children build and maintain better relationships with parents, adults, other children, and the wider community.

    Does your preferred centre:

    • Allow your toddler to explore and experiment in indoor and outdoor learning environments
    • Develop your toddler's early problem-solving skills and resilience in and away from home
    • Help your toddler form relationships with educators and other children
    • Allow your child to communicate, share, cooperate and contribute to the world around them
    • Encourage participation in group settings as well as solitary play
    • Establish age-appropriate awareness in reading, math, writing, science and technology.

    The following points should be considered when choosing an appropriate childcare centre or preschool:

    The Safety Of The Childcare Or Preschool

    Parents should visit the preschool or childcare centre and check the safety of the classrooms. The lighting fixtures, ventilation, furniture, and the cleanliness of the classrooms, toilets, playrooms, and the whole school premises should be thoroughly maintained. Play is an important part of a child's development, so the play areas provided should be safe and well-kept, and the objects for playing and pieces of equipment should be checked to meet safety standards. These things should be free from hazards such as paint chipping, rusty surfaces and pointed objects that may cause accidents.

    Premises and Facilities

    A preschool with a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere is ideal, and huge play space is suitable for the child's exploration. Colourful decorations, vibrant murals, attractive toys and plenty of available materials can surely stimulate a child's learning.

    Giggles Early Learning Center is a great preschool in Bexley that has the right childcare facilities to facilitate early childhood learning in a welcoming environment.

    Problem-solve Pronto

    You'll inevitably experience conflicts with your caregiver, both large and small. Address problems right away rather than ignoring them until they grow out of proportion.

    Some issues can be resolved quickly; others may require more discussion. Whatever the conflict, respectfully treat the caregiver, but don't be afraid to speak up, says Deborah Borchers, MD, a pediatrician in private practice in Cincinnati.

    When broaching a difficult subject, ask the caregiver's opinion, and hear her out. As the parent, you have the final word with an in-home caregiver, but you're more likely to elicit cooperation if the caregiver knows she has been heard.

    For example, instead of demanding an earlier nap time to make bedtime easier, ask the caregiver if she has ideas about how to adjust your baby's schedule so he won't grow so overtired in the evening.

    The Location Of The Childcare Or Preschool

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    Most parents favour a nearby kindergarten in Bexley or preschools near their homes as accessibility is deemed to assist in the daily travel to the preschool. Some also opt for a childcare centre that is close to their work.

    A flexible location for the family will make it easy for the parents to attend to the child when the child is sick and needs to be sent home.

    A short travel time between school and home will lessen the child's fatigue and stress from a long trip, making them less tired and less fussy.

    Knowing how many hours of childcare and the days of the week that you need the childcare services should be considered.

    The Reputation Of The Childcare Or Preschool

    Parents should ensure that the preschool or childcare centre has a good reputation for providing quality care in the area. Award-winning childcare in Bexley, such as Giggles Early Learning Centre, is a perfect choice for parents who want their child to get the best early childhood education in a supportive environment.

    Discuss important matters with the school admin such as the school's philosophy, early learning programs, policies, services, staff training, procedures on how they handle issues or injuries, types of meals, costs, etc.

    It is also useful to let them know if your child has any special health conditions or food allergies so you'd know how they can handle these types of requirements.

    Drop By And Spy

    While word-of-mouth referrals from other parents or trusted resources are important, you need to look at a place for yourself to assess whether it meets your needs. In addition, of course, any childcare environment should be kept clean, childproofed, and well stocked with sturdy books and age-appropriate toys. 

    Other details to consider: When older children share the space, toys with small parts (choking hazards) should be kept away from younger babies. Ideally, infants and babies should have their own area where older toddlers won't get "loved" too much.

    A room or separate area dedicated solely to swings and bouncers may look appealing at first glance, but keep in mind that growing babies need plenty of floor time to develop and strengthen their muscles.

    If possible, try to visit the same centres at different times of the day to get a sense of how the staff interacts with the children and what the routine is. 

    You may want to consider popping in unannounced a few times after you've enrolled your child, to see how things are going. Sometimes your visits will confirm that the place is right for you, but sometimes they'll be a real eye-opener.

    The Owner, Teachers, And Staff

    The preschool owner, manager or director should have the expertise to provide early childhood instructions and the right qualifications to run a childcare centre. They should be a childcare administrator backed with years of experience.

    The capacity to provide instructional leadership and motivation to the faculty and school staff is also essential. The preschool or childcare centre owner's ability to establish a good relationship with the parents is helpful to the overall progress of the child.

    For preschoolers and those who attend early learning in Bexley, the most important person in the school for a child is always their teacher. A good teacher is gentle, kindhearted, and is always willing to help a child who needs reassurance that everything will be fine for them in a new learning environment.

    Once the teacher has gained the trust and confidence of a preschooler, every learning activity will be met with enthusiasm, and the readiness to learn will become evident. A patient, compassionate and reliable teacher can be identified by the childcare owner and by the parents who are grateful when they came across one.

    So, it is a must that parents inquire on the teacher's experience, credentials, and overall capacity who will handle their child.

    Sitting in, if allowed, or observing how the teacher interacts with the little ones can also help. You can have a read of our testimonials to see what our parents have to say about Giggles ELC.

    Expensive fees, uniforms, and high preschool costs do not mean that the school have the best teachers.

    However, getting involved with the child's progress, asking for feedback from teachers, observing how they handle an issue that was raised, and listening to the children's feedback will also give the parents some idea of the teacher's character.

    Do A Policy Check

    Find out whether you share parenting philosophies on topics such as discipline (Do the caregivers use time-outs, scoldings?); television (Is the TV on all day or used sparingly, if at all?); feeding (What snacks or drinks are provided for older babies?); sleeping (When are naps offered? How are fussy babies put to sleep?); and so forth. Inquire about the sick-child policy (What symptoms prevent a child from attending?).

    Also, ask whether there's a backup plan should the family day-care provider or in-home caregiver get sick and be unable to work. The more questions you ask early on, the less likely you are to be unpleasantly surprised later.

    Be Open To Change

    You're not married to a particular person or situation, and if things don't work out, you can always make a switch. Yes, you want consistency for your baby, but that doesn't mean you can't alter arrangements. Babies are resilient; as long as they're having a positive experience with their new caregiver, they'll be just fine, points out Dr. Shatoff.

    No matter what your work hours, you are still your child's essential caregiver—the most consistent source of love and support in her life. Under your care and guidance, along with the help of your well-chosen caregivers, your baby will flourish and grow into a happy, healthy child.

    Here are some tips for what to consider when choosing the right centre for your child.
    1. Determine the type of childcare service you are looking for. ...
    2. Type of Education and Philosophy. ...
    3. Location of the childcare centre. ...
    4. Availability & Waiting List. ...
    5. Childcare Costs. ...
    6. Flexibility. ...
    7. Licencing and Registration.

    When choosing a childcare centre, you as the parent have the right to expect it will provide a safe, supportive place for your child's self-identity and awareness to grow. It's important that educators in your choice of centre value each child's individual interests and opinions and treat them with respect and love.

    A high-quality childcare center has a friendly and warm environment conducive to learning. Be sure to pick a daycare with clean and sanitary buildings and classrooms. Check their toys and learning materials to make sure they are safe and child-friendly.

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