When researching the pros and cons of childcare for young children, parents often run across the term 'high-quality childcare', as the benefits of high-quality childcare versus lower-quality child care have been heavily researched. However, for new parents, the pressure of finding high-quality childcare can be challenging due to lack of experience in reviewing childcare. Here are some things you can look for to see if a childcare is high quality.
Positive and responsive care
One of the most important things to find in childcare is that the carers are warm and respond appropriately to the children's needs. While children won't always be happy at their childcare centre (or indeed in any setting), the important thing is that when they are upset they are comforted appropriately by their carers. Also, having appropriate child to carer ratios can allow the carers to have the time to attend to each child in a reasonable manner.
Clean and safe settings
The next criteria to look for is a clean and safe setting, with particular emphasis on common hazards such as having cabinet locks on cabinets that store cleaning chemicals and storage that keeps sharp items out of the range of the children. There should also be a clearly displayed evacuation plan so that, in the event of an emergency, the carers and children can be easily evacuated from the site.
On a hygiene level, keeping the facilities (in particular, the toilets and nappy change areas) clean helps to keep everyone healthy and able to participate in activities.
Once the child is happy and comfortable, the next indicator to look for is to have surroundings which are appropriate to the age group and provide gentle stimulation. (One important tip is to get down to the child's level and look at the room to see what you can see and do at this level.) This can include age appropriate toys as well as surfaces that young children can explore (including low mirrors and sensory tables with different surfaces to explore). The carers should also be organising different types of activities such as story time or song circle, which can help the children to interact and enjoy their time at the childcare centre.
When looking for high-quality childcare centres, such as Abracadabra Brighton Domestic Agencies Pty Ltd, it is a great idea to do some tours of prospective childcare centres so that you can see how the children and carers interact when the centre is in operation.