Choosing the right child care for your family
Source : 90% of content collated from Department of education documents and website
Author :Martin , for ‘Spot A Childcare’
More affordable access to quality child care puts the opportunity of work within the reach of more families. The following information aims to help families in making the choice for care that suits their needs.
Choosing the right child care arrangements for your family
Before you begin your research on child care , its important to have a basic picture of what you want for your child and you. It may be worth jotting down the answers to the below questions to start with
- What sort of social and cultural experiences do you want for your child while they are in care?
- Would your child be happier in a smaller, more ‘home like’ environment or in a larger group, so that they can mix with more children?
- If your child is approaching school age, would you prefer for them to be in care with children who they might be going to school with in the future?
- Think about how formal care is going to fit into your child’s and your day
- Does your child have siblings? Would you prefer to have them spend more time together and support one another in the same caring environment or do you want them to spend time independently, with children their own age?
- Is it easier for you to have your child care service closer to your home, your place of work or perhaps an older sibling’s school?
- Will you need formal care every day of the week or just occasionally on some days or for only a few hours?
- Can you mix-and-match formal care with other regular arrangements such as trusted friends or family members?
- What are your budgetary constraints if any ?
Searching for child care in your suburb
Once you have the above questions sorted, you can start your search. An easy option is to visit websites which enable you to find all centre’s in one place. The website ‘Spot A Childcare’ is one importat resource which you can use to find child care, preschools, family day care , occassional care and after school care centres all in one spot. Simply enter the suburb of your choice and access vacancy , fee, quality ratings and other important information about the child care.
Find out what fee assistance you might be eligible for
You may be elegible for Australian Government assistance for child care. To government provides a scheme by the name of ‘Child Care Rebate’ (CCR) and ‘Child Care Benefit’ (CCB) which will be replaced with a new scheme called ‘Child Care Subsidy’ from 1st July 2018. To estimate your Child Care Subsidy visit the free online calculator.
For more infrormation on the government subsidy and the elegibility criteria visit the department of education’s website.
Visit your preferred child care provider and speak with the director or educators before making a decision
Make an initial phone call to the services you are interested in to confirm that places are available for the times and days that you need. You can also make a mutually convenient time to visit a service with your child.
Before you visit a service think about things that are important to you and your family and make note of some questions you would like to ask the director or educators, these may include:
- How will I know what activities my child has done that day?
- What is the sleeping routine like in my child’s room?
- How will my child’s heritage be incorporated in the education programme?
- How does the service reflect the community in which it is located?
Have a look at the physical set-up of the whole service and consider whether your child will be happy and safe. Consider whether the service is equipped to meet your child’s particular needs, including disability or language requirements. Some of the information such as language is also usually listed in the child care lisings on www.spotachildcare.com.au.
Meet with the educators and make sure you and your child feel comfortable interacting with them.
Find out about the child care centre's quality ratings
From January 2012 there have been national requirements in place which are progressively improving the ratio of educators to children, so that each child gets more individual care and attention. Under the National Quality Standard, child care staff and family day carers will soon be required to have (or be working towards) formal qualifications, enabling them to lead activities that inspire children and help them learn and develop. Services will develop early childhood learning programmes based on an approved learning framework including the Early Years Learning Framework and the Framework for School Age Care (for older children). The approved frameworks support educators to maximise children’s potential and develop a foundation for future success in learning through play based activities.
Services are assessed and rated against the seven key quality areas set out in the National Quality Standard. Not only will you be able to find out how your child’s service rates against each of these key quality areas (and its overall rating), but you will also be able to see the Standard itself so that you can work out what each rating actually means.
A service’s ratings and the full National Quality Standard is available on the National Quality Standard website.
www.spotachildcare.com.au also lists the quality ratings of participating centres.
Develop partnerships with staff and ask for their opinions
Well qualified child care staff and Family Day Care educators are able to give you a very good idea about how your child is going while he or she is in care. Your child’s educator can give you important information such as whether he or she is feeling happy and secure at the service, how he or she is getting on with the other children or whether anything appears to be concerning him or her.
A quality service will want to work with you to make sure your child is getting the best possible care and attention. It is important that they know about your child’s changing interests, and how your child is growing and developing.
Your child’s carer will become a very important person in your child’s life. Developing a strong partnership built on mutual respect will help ensure your child gets the best possible care.
Don’t be a stranger at your child’s service
When your child first attends a child care service, he or she may want some comfort from you to help him or her settle in. A quality child care service recognises this, and should welcome your participation and work with you to make your child feel safe and secure.
A quality child care service will make sure there are opportunities for you to visit the service and discuss how your child is going. You can also contact the service yourself and arrange a time to speak with your child’s educator. Services must have a quiet, private area where you can talk.
You should be aware of how to provide feedback to the service, and what processes are in place in case you have any concerns or complaints about the education and care being provided to your child.
It is not always possible to get a full picture of a child care service before you make the decision to place your child in the service. By keeping in contact with your child’s service, you can get a better idea of how the service operates