At Little Beginnings we understand that making the decision to find an Early Childhood Setting for your child can be daunting. We have put together the following Questions that you could ask to ensure that the centre is right fit for your child and their family.
We believe that Our Offering will tick all of these boxes;
- Where is the centre? Is it convenient to home or work?
- What are the daily fees? How does the centre manage government rebates?
- Is there availability at the times/days you require?
- What age ranges does the centre cater for?
- What are the centre opening hours, and how do they fit with your daily routine? Are they open late/early, weekends, public holidays?
- Is the centre flexible enough to allow for last-minute changes to bookings?
- Does the centre meet the requirements of the National Quality Framework?
- What are the facilities like in general? What is your gut feeling? Would you be happy to spend time here?
- Are the facilities, equipment and toys well maintained and modern?
- Do they have a variety of indoor and outdoor space?
- Is there shade in the outside areas? Is there a sun protection policy?
- Are there adequate amounts of safe play equipment?
- Do the rooms seem like stimulating environments? Lots of toys, books, educational materials, art on the walls?
- Is the facility clean? Ask about hygiene/cleaning routines and don’t forget to check the toilets.
- Is the sleeping area quiet and comforting? Would your child be able to sleep soundly here?
- Do the other children look happy and content?
- Does the centre provide food? If so, ask to see a sample menu. What is the nutritional value of the food offered?
- What are the arrangements for children with allergies?
- What food do you need to provide yourself?
- The programming (or ‘curriculum’) at a centre is the essence of the early learning experience. Programming should be within the guidelines of the Early Years Learning Framework, and offer every child the opportunity to develop to the best of their potential.
- Does the centre follow the Early Years Learning Framework?
- Ask to see the day’s activity log, ‘what we did today’ or ‘learning story’. Centres are required to write up and display the centre’s activities so that parents can see what their children enjoy doing each day.
- Is there a set daily routine? Basic routine is beneficial, but the centre shouldn’t be too regimented and inflexible.
- Ask for an outline of activities provided in your child’s age group. Is there a good mix of exercise, music, art, reading, play and games? Do the activities suit your child’s interests? Is there time for free play too?
- Are there special days at the centre such as Book Week, Dental Week or other educational and cultural events?
- What is the ratio of group and one-on-one activities. You want a good mixture of both types of interaction.
- What is the centre’s philosophy on tailoring care and education? You want to look at whether the learning activities (and educators!) are flexible enough to cater to your child’s individual needs and strengths.
- What is the centre’s policy on sleeping? Children should be allowed to sleep if they need to, but should never be forced to sleep if they don’t.
The National Quality Standards
Under the National Quality Framework, new National Quality Standards (NQS) have been established. These standards include seven areas (known as quality areas) against which centres are assessed. The standards help families understand where the strengths and areas of focus are at their centre so they can be informed and involved in the ongoing improvement to the quality of their service.