The importance of choosing the right childcare

The importance of choosing the right childcare

It is so important to make the right decision about childcare for your little ones. Here are three key areas to take into consideration, and some questions which may guide you in selecting the best care for your child:

1. Brain development in children

The ages of 1 to 3 offer amazing opportunities for learning and growth, as young brains rapidly expand, absorb and adapt to the world they are discovering around them. Your toddler, while in care, will love getting to know their teacher, who is trained to encourage child-led play. This developmental stage plays a vital role for healthy brain development and it’s important that childcare centres aim to create a wonderland of play-based early learning environments and experiences. Early interactions with family, educators, and other children will shape the way your child thinks, feels, acts and connects with others. This experience will also affect how well your child does in school.

Research shows quality early education is extremely valuable in the first five years of a child’s life, as it lays a foundation for a lifetime of learning.

When choosing a childcare centre, you as the parent have the right to expect it will provide a safe, supportive place for your child’s self-identity and awareness to grow. It’s important that educators in your choice of centre value each child’s individual interests and opinions and treat them with respect and love. The play-based experiences a toddler has in daycare are where the real learning happens!

Before choosing a centre ask, does it provide:

  • Gentle introductions to early childhood learning environments
  • Trusting, caring connections with qualified educators
  • Opportunities for early socialisation with other babies
  • Motivation for your child to communicate and engage with the world around them
  • Singing, music and soothing environments
  • Sensory stimulation to spark your child’s curiosity

2. Building a love of lifelong learning

High quality childcare centres should be easily identified by the fact that they provide a warm and loving environment for fun play-based learning. Research has shown that emotional strength and well-being, and a love of learning can be developed well before children are able to fully express themselves verbally. Early childhood educators believe they are building futures from the very first day of education and care they provide.

Your child’s earliest emotional, social, and physical experiences will have a direct impact on their future resilience and wellbeing. The skills they learn in care will help children build and maintain better relationships with parents, adults, other children and the wider community.

Does your preferred centre:

  • Allow your toddler to explore and experiment in indoor and outdoor learning environments
  • Develop your toddler’s early problem-solving skills and resilience in and away from home
  • Help your toddler form relationships with educators and other children
  • Allow your child to communicate, share, cooperate and contribute to the world around them
  • Encourage participation in group settings as well as solitary play
  • Establish age-appropriate awareness in reading, math, writing, science and technology

3. Developing school readiness

Once school starts to come into view, it is important to have a clear pathway. Ensuring your child feels comfortable in a classroom environment and has a desire to engage in learning and with their educators and peers is crucial at this point in their lives.

A child’s experience with their childcare provider can affect their speech development and social behavior. Studies show that children who receive quality childcare do better in school and are better prepared for reading and math. Also, they are more curious, are better communicators and problem solvers, and are more confident.

To be sure your child is getting the best start for school ask if they:

  • Have a state-government approved preschool or kindergarten program
  • Teach your child about responsibility, emotions, and respect
  • Allow children to explore their own self-identity and identify their own interests
  • Incorporate literacy, numeracy, science and enrichment programs into their curriculum
  • Keep parents updated daily, weekly and monthly on their child’s progress emotionally as well as academically
  • Connect with local primary schools and provide transition statements for children
  • Host parent information sessions throughout the year
  • Provide healthy physical, mental and social activities and events for children
  • Teach children vital self-help skills such as toileting, dressing and lunchbox preparation
  • Allow children to participate in community excursions to create connections
  • Celebrate children’s ‘Graduation’ from their School Readiness program as a milestone event before they transition to ‘big school’
  • Allow your toddler to explore and experiment in indoor and outdoor learning environments

We understand the choices can be overwhelming, but our Lifelong Learning Centre staff across Australia are ready to guide you with any questions you may have.

Find out more about Lifelong Learning Centres here