As you will be aware by now, choosing high quality child care for your little one can be an overwhelming process. Click here for valuable information on the types of child care available and how to find the best quality child care.
One of the best ways to make your final decision about which child care service to use, is to compile a short list of your top two or three services and then visit them. Visiting your preferred child care service during normal operating hours will give you great insight into how the staff interact with the children, how the children interact with each other, and ultimately whether the service is the right place for your child.
Most child care services are happy for parents to drop in, so don't feel awkward about visiting and make sure you ask lots of questions.
It is worth spending a little time planning your visit so you gain an accurate idea of how the service works and how well it meets the needs of your child. The following preparations will help you make your visit worthwhile:
- Print a copy of our Early Childhood Education Service Checklist to take with you. The checklist will be a useful reminder of things to look out for and potential questions to ask.
- Make sure you visit the service in ‘non-peak hours' i.e. avoid drop off and pick up times. Although most services allow parents to drop in at anytime for your first visit, it might be worthwhile calling and making an appointment. This will ensure a staff member is available to show you around and answer any questions.
- Pay attention to the interactions between staff and children, take note of the activities the children are doing, check out the environment and the sleeping, playing and eating spaces and most importantly ask lots of questions.
When you have successfully found a service, read our article on helping your child adjust to child care to ensure the first day is happy for everyone!