Here are 10 factors to consider when choosing child care service for your family.
There are many different variables to consider when choosing a child care service for your family:
- Location – does the service need to be in a local area that's close to home or work, or somewhere else?
- Cost – what are the fees of the childcare provider and what do they include?
- Availability – does the service have the days you require? Are casual spots available? do they provide school hours care, occasional care or outside school hours care?
- Staff – do you and your children like the staff and feel welcome?
- Facilities – are the rooms and gardens interesting, well-organised and inspirational?
- Food – can you see the weekly menus and are special requirements catered for?
- Sleep – what is the service's approach to sleep and rest time during school hours? Are they flexible with children who want to skip a nap?
- Program – are the activities interesting, and varied for the child's learning? Do they have fun and family-inclusive activities like child's day or family day? What school holidays and events do they observe?
- Quality – has the service been assessed by ACECQA and does it meet quality ratings?
- Communication – does the service offer digital or paper-based learning stories where you can see what children do during the day?
When considering your childcare options, it is very important to check out a number of childcare services and visit the childcare centre to spend some time getting to know the staff. First-hand experience is the best way to judge whether a service ‘feels right' as the right childcare service for your child.
Be sure to print a copy of our Child Care Centre Checklist when you visit a local centre and do a centre tour to remind you what to look out for in a child care environment and in terms of the quality of children's education. Also ensure that the childcare providers you consider are certified by ACECQA as all approved services must meet the standards set for childcare service and education.
Remember, that every family is unique and the preferences and priorities of one family will be different from another. It's important to keep this in mind as you set about researching your child care services options for your child's early learning, as you are likely to come across parents and carers with different experiences and opinions from your own.
Children thrive in high-quality early childhood education settings and you can learn more about how to identify high-quality childcare service that is a legally approved provider for early education and meets the national quality standard here.
If you still can't decide which child care to choose, use our child care compass. Start the Child Care Compass
Need more information about childcare? CareforKids provides information on everything child care including how to find the best childcare service or how to apply for child care subsidy.