Are you trying to find a child care service for your little one? It’s important to have all the facts!
Sending your child to child care for the first time is a big step. It’s an important milestone for them and it’s a big deal for parents too! Where does the time go? When you begin the process of trying to find child care that is right for your little one, having all the facts is one way to be confident that you are making the best choice for them. Knowing which information to trust isn’t always easy. So how can you be sure that you’ve got the information you need to decide on a service?
You know your child and family’s needs
If you’ve started to talk about the need to find child care with family and friends, chances are you’ve been given more advice than you could have ever anticipated! Everyone will have their opinion about which service is best and why, and though it’s often delivered with the best intentions, it may leave you feeling confused especially if everyone doesn’t always agree.
The most important thing to remember is that only you know what is going to suit your child best and what will work for your family. Asking for advice from those around you who have gone through the process recently is definitely useful, but be prepared to take the information on board and then think about whether it aligns with your list of priorities. Just because it worked for them doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you!
Make a list of your needs then search StartingBlocks.gov.au
If you are going to find child care that ticks all your boxes, you need to clearly know what those boxes are before you begin your search. Think about how many days you will need, how many hours on each of those days, how much you have to spend, and perhaps most importantly the types of child care service you are interested in.
Once you have your list sorted, it helps to look at the quality ratings of the child care options that suit your needs to narrow down your options. StartingBlocks.gov.au is a trusted government website that does the hard work for you, designed specifically to help families with child care related questions, taking the guesswork out of the search. All it takes is a simple search of the child care service you are considering through their Find Child Care tool, and you will have not only a list of the services in your chosen area but also their National Quality Standard (NQS) ratings.
Did you know that education and care services across Australia are assessed and rated by government regulatory authorities?
This NQS rating of a child care service is one piece of information that can help you feel confident in your choice. The ratings are given to services after they are assessed against the seven quality areas of the NQS:
1. Educational program and practice
Your child is supported to participate in play and learning
2. Children’s health and safety
Your child is protected from illness and hazards
3. Physical environment
Your child plays in a safe and well-maintained environment
4. Staffing arrangements
There are enough qualified staff to give your child the attention they need
5. Relationships with children
Your child is made to feel supported and welcome
6. Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
Local community involvement and respect for the beliefs and values of families
7. Governance and leadership
Your child is cared for in a positive and well-managed environment
Based on these quality areas, child care services are given one of five ratings from the following list:
- Significant Improvement Required
- Working Towards NQS
- Meeting NQS
- Exceeding NQS
Considering child care ratings is an important part of your selection process as they highlight services who are dedicated to exceptional education and care, who consistently demonstrate sector leadership, and are committed to continually improving. The benefits of quality early learning speak for themselves, including everything from supporting your child’s development, learning, and wellbeing to encouraging their physical, cognitive, emotional, and language skills, so choosing a quality early learning service may be one of the most significant decisions you make for your little one in their early years.
So if you’re overwhelmed by choice and find yourself struggling to know where to begin, visit StartingBlocks.gov.au and enjoy the confidence that comes with having all the facts. Knowledge really is power!
What was on your priority list when it came time to find child care for your little one? Let us know in the comments!
Mouths of Mums are working with StartingBlocks.gov.au to bring you this post. StartingBlocks.gov.au provides parents with information about early childhood education and care. Find them on Instagram and Facebook.