Few things elicit a sense of horror as much as the thought of leaving your child with a group of strangers. Though childcare centres are professionally-trained groups of strangers, this can still be a daunting task. If you’re not sure where to start, below are a few suggestions for what to look for when choosing a childcare centre for your family.
1. Professional Cleaners
It doesn’t matter how hygienic and attentive the childcare staff may be. At the end of the day, children are small yet potent germ-machines, and even the most diligent childcare worker cannot watch every activity of every child in the centre. If they take the health of their young charges seriously, they should have professional, specialist cleaners at the premises on a regular basis. And don’t feel embarrassed to ask about this – just remember that if your child gets sick, you probably will too.
2. A Garden
Children love gardening. Strange, but true. They enjoy nothing more than helping to plant, water, weed, and laze around the pretty flowers. If your childcare centre doesn’t have a garden, your child won’t be encouraged to appreciate nature or spend time outside. They are also cheap to set up and maintain, and they give children an opportunity to learn a new skill before they are too busy discovering smartphones and video games. If there’s no garden, but you can’t go past this centre, you could always ask to set one up – they’d probably love the help and you’ll enjoy getting involved (though, obviously, this depends on whether you have the time or the desire!).
3. A Dedicated Nap Place
One of the most important aspects of a childcare centre is its ability to provide restful naps for your children. Make sure that you can see the nap space and that it is an area without too many distractions and stimulation. The last thing you want is for your overtired and grumpy child to come home from childcare and wreak havoc at your home. Childcare is about giving them new experiences, building social awareness, and exhausting them so they are more placid at night time.
4. A Library
This may seem overenthusiastic – your child probably isn’t digging into classic or contemporary novels quite yet, right? But having an age-appropriate library is one of the most invaluable things you can provide for your child’s early learning and stimulation. Your childcare centre should have children’s books available and on display. Encouraging your child to pick up a book instead of pining for digital mediums can help to build an early framework for educational interest and engagement.
Of course, this list is by no means comprehensive; there are countless other invaluable things that every childcare centre should have. Important safety features, play equipment, and adequate staffing cannot be ignored when you choose your family’s childcare centre. But the above list contains just a few examples to show how a childcare centre can set themselves apart while caring for your young family members.