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What to ask on a centre tour: Our top expert tips
By World of Learning
When you’re new to the world of choosing the perfect child care centre for your little one, everything can seem overwhelming. There are so many options, and not all offer up exactly what you might be looking for.
If you’re not sure where to begin, we’re here to help. Maddie Rizzo, our Centre Manager from World of Learning Narellan, has offered her set of expert tips and tricks for exactly what to ask when touring a centre.
From safety to the subsidy and everything in between, this is the perfect list to get you started.
Safety is an essential feature of all Early Childhood Education and Care centres, and all centres have unique safety opportunities and challenges to plan for.
“Great centres will have a fantastic evacuation and lockdown procedure, medical emergency response plan and individual safety plans for all children who are especially high risk,” explains Maddie.
Why not ask the Centre Manager on a tour about the safety plans that your centre has in place to keep your child safe?
The Child Care Subsidy
Are you worried about the cost of childcare, or don’t know much about the Childcare Subsidy Package? The Centre Manager may be the best person to ask about what packages are available in your state – after all, they are experts in regularly helping families figure out how to make their subsidies work for them.
“You can ask your Centre Manager about the steps to apply for subsidy, how much you may be entitled to, and our flexible hours options that could save you hundreds of dollars per week in fees,” suggests Maddie.
Sincere connections with the community offer your child a wealth of resources and opportunities to deepen learning and build relationships with groups of people outside the family unit.
“I would recommend asking how your centre builds connections with their local community, and how those relationships can benefit your child,” Maddie says.
This might include incursions to the centre with the local library or Indigenous elder; excursions to local schools and aged care facilities; or sustainability programs that give back to the environment and wider community.
Did you know that most centres in Australia are required to have one or more University educated Teachers on premises? Why not ask who your centre’s Qualified Teachers are, and how they help to enrich learning programs across the whole centre?
You may also like to ask how long the educators have been at the centre and how they plan to uphold your individual style of parenting.
“Centres that truly respect different styles of parenting and family values will offer lots of opportunities for shared decision making about the care and education of your child,” Maddie explains. “I would recommend asking how the centre involves parents in key decision making, how their voices are heard and how parents impact the centre.”
The Centre’s Assessment
All Early Childhood Education and Care services are governed by the Department of Education, the same department who govern schools?
“Much like schools, the Department of Education conduct routine assessments of Early Childhood Education and Care services to highlight their strengths and areas for improvement,” Maddie elaborates. “Why not ask your Centre Manager what their areas of strength are, and what actions they have in place to strengthen areas for improvement?”
All centres are required to have a Quality Improvement Plan. The centres’ QIP is a strong indicator of your service’s values, hopes and aspirations for the service community and will address areas of the centre that the families, educators and managers would like to see improve over the short and long term.
Why not ask your Centre Manager about their QIP, and find out what aspirations the team have for the centre for the next year?