With many people working two or more jobs, and doing shift work as well, the need for childcare provision has become a necessity for many families. Finding the right childcare centre that provides a range of different services at a reasonable cost can be a real challenge.
A childcare centre will normally cater for children around the age of 4 or 5, although some will cater for three-year-olds as well. They will need to provide cover from early in the morning till early evening on most days of the week.
They need to provide a range of services that cover early years education, health, community development and family services. In addition, parents must be comfortable that the childcare centre provides a safe and secure environment for their children.
Early education and care
Identifying educational needs and developing programs to meet them is a crucial element of all childcare provision. Staff must be suitably qualified and trained and must be able to identify all the developmental needs of the children.
Staff must be able to work with children who have any type of disability or learning difficulty or special needs. This can be quite a challenging area of work. Parents need to work with the childcare centre to make sure they are suitably equipped and competent to provide such a level of care.
The centre should encourage feedback from the family and actively seek to resolve any issues or disputes that may arise. A childcare centre should have a detailed complaints policy that families can apply to access if the need arises.
Community deferment is an important aspect of all childcare centres and is designed to make sure that families connect with other families and support the development of a community as such. All members of the family and extended members of the family are encouraged to attend different programs within the childcare centre that help promote these aims.
These programs can include groups for parents and carers, as well as raise general awareness around child development, early years learning and other childhood needs.
Many childcare centres arrange community events outside of the centre itself, which can include fun runs, barbecues and other social activities. These can be useful in bringing families together and developing the spirit of a community.
The focus on health in a chilcare centre is largely on health promotion. Areas such as healthy eating and learning to enjoy food that is nutritionally beneficial for children of that age can be a difficult thing to achieve. Childcare centres put a lot of emphasis on encouraging children and families to develop healthy eating habits.
Other areas of health promotion include physical activity, dental health and overall child development. A childcare centre should encourage different types of play and help guide children to play in ways that are both enjoyable for them and help develop a wide range of age appropriate skills.