Every parent wants the very best for their child. This is why choosing the right childcare centre can often feel like such a daunting task. There are so many centres out there, each claiming to offer great care, so how do you tell the difference between a run-of-the-mill, standard childcare service and a truly high-quality centre? We’ve outlined some of the key factors to look out for below.
While some old-school centres may rely on set lesson plans and a rigid, one-size-fits-all approach to education, a modern, high-quality childcare centre should have a clear emphasis on embracing each child’s individual needs and preferences. We now know that all children learn differently and develop at their own pace and this should be reflected in the activities they are exposed to at childcare. A centre with an individualised approach to education will take into account your child’s unique interests, abilities, and sensory and emotional needs, in order to help them grow and develop at their own pace.
How to find out: Ask the centre about how they tailor activities to embrace each child’s individuality.
Focus on emotional wellbeing
Anyone with young kids will know that children are highly emotional beings, and in order for them to feel comfortable learning, exploring, and socialising, they first need to feel emotionally secure and supported, especially in a new environment. A good childcare centre will have a holistic approach to education that encompasses not only your child’s cognitive and physical development but also their social and emotional development. The early years are absolutely crucial for developing emotional intelligence and self-regulation skills, so it’s important the childcare environment is set up to support emotional development.
How to find out: Ask the centre about the ways they support children’s emotional development and whether they teach emotional regulation skills as part of their curriculum.
Every childcare centre in Australia must implement the government’s Early Years Learning Framework, which outlines learning outcomes for children aged 0-5. This framework is intended to ensure that all Australian children are exposed to certain key learning outcomes, regardless of the centre they attend. While this is a great start for all children, it is always beneficial to go above and beyond the minimum education required, which is why some centres offer a number of extra-curricular programs. Look out for extra-curricular programs such as foreign language classes, cooking lessons, yoga, or sporting programs which can create a more well-rounded educational experience for your little one.
How to find out: Ask the centre if they offer any extra-curricular programs and whether or not these are included in the standard cost of care.
Genuine love and care
While it may be impossible to measure, most parents would agree that having educators that genuinely love and care for the children is probably the most important factor in choosing a high-quality centre. While for the most part, the quality of the educators is what will determine how much love and care is given to your child, another factor that influences this is the policies of the centre and the way it is run. For example, some centres may refuse to support babies to sleep through motion or being held, while a high-quality centre will be happy to support your child to sleep in whichever way works best for their unique temperament.
How to find out: Book a tour and observe how the educators interact with the children, taking note of things like affectionate physical touch, jokes and laughter, and kind, affirming words. Also, ask about policies surrounding sleep and emotional support during times of distress.
Healthy food offerings
There’s no doubt that a childcare centre with meals included is the most convenient option for parents, removing the fuss of shopping, planning, and packing lunches every day. But if you’re trusting your centre to feed your child, you will want to be sure the food offerings are both nutritionally balanced and appealing enough to be enjoyed by potentially fussy toddlers and preschoolers.
How to find out: Ask to see a sample menu and don’t be afraid to ask questions about the nutritional value of the meals.
A good school prep program (for preschool-aged children)
If you’re sending your preschool-aged child to childcare, you will want to ensure that they are being well-prepared for a smooth transition into “big school.” A specialised school prep program is the best way to ensure children are adequately prepared for the unique challenges of Kindergarten.
How to find out: Ask if the centre has a special school prep program.
Mini Masterminds’ high-quality childcare
At Mini Masterminds, we pride ourselves on offering care that goes above and beyond what most centres offer. We believe some of the factors that make our centres special are:
Our individualised approach – We do away with the dated early learning methods of set lesson plans, and instead, embrace each child’s individuality and personal growth.
Focus on emotional wellbeing – We are committed to ensuring each child’s holistic growth by encouraging not just their cognitive development, but their emotional development as well.
Extra-curriculars – We go above and beyond the standard curriculum, offering a range of extra-curriculars including Mini Linguistics, Mini Yoga, Mini Chefs, Mini Swim Stars, and Mini Champions. Find out more here.
Genuine love and care – We specially select only the most passionate and genuinely caring educators. Each educator at Mini Masterminds has a sincere interest in the wellbeing and happiness of your child and this is at forefront of everything that we do.
Healthy food offerings – We provide 5 nutritious and delicious meals daily prepared on-site by our personal chef.
School prep program – Developed in consultation with an experienced Primary School Teacher, our school prep program goes above and beyond the standard Early Years Framework, masterfully integrating the Early Stage 1 curriculum to give our kids a head start in Kindergarten
We love chatting with parents and we’re always happy to answer questions, take you on a tour, or provide further resources or information about our centres. To get in touch, contact us today.