First Steps in finding a Quality Early Childhood service to meet your family’s needs.
Finding an appropriate high quality Early Childhood Education and Care facility can be daunting for a family. That moment when you begin looking for a place that will provide all that you require while in your absence can be over whelming, especially if it the first time you have needed care.
As a Director of a community based Government Funded Kindergarten and Long Day Care facility I often see the anxiety and trepidation when a family first comes to visit.
First and foremost for your child or baby to feel comfortable while orientating into a centre it is important and that the parent does not show signs of anxiety, as this can be passed on to your child very easily. If you are worried then your child will be worried as they will take their cues from you.
It may be a good idea to visit the service without your child first, until you have made your decision and that your feel confident in your decision.
The first impression is usually a good indication of the service; listen to your gut feeling as it is usually right. When you walk into a service you will immediately know if it is giving you an indication of the quality of care it provides. This is not me telling you but hundreds of families who I have spoken to regarding their first impressions upon entry.
There are many questions you should have on your list as you tour the service so ensure they are written down and with you.
First on the list of questions would not be how much are your fees?
I would be asking have you had your Assessment and Ratings yet? And if so where can I see them?
Each service is required by Regulation and Law to undertake this process, as part of this process they will need to have documented and their Quality Improvement Plan or (QIP for short) available. As a parent I would be asking the Director to share some important parts of this with you.
The Assessment and Ratings process is undertaken by the State and Federal bodies. In Victoria it is undertaken by DEECD (Department of Education and Early Childhood Development) and ACECQA (Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority). There are 7 quality Areas in which a service will be assessed.
Educational program and practice
Children’s health and safety
Relationships with children
Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
Leadership and service management
The Assessment and Ratings of each service can be found on the governments My Child website or the ACECQA website Here you can see the services report regarding their ratings and will give you a good indication of quality.
There are 5 ratings including :-
Excellent rating, awarded by ACECQA
Exceeding National Quality Standard
Meeting National Quality Standard
Working Towards National Quality Standard
Significant Improvement Required
A high quality service will be Exceeding in most or all areas, and if they have then applied for Excellence and received this rating then you know the service is of outstanding quality as this is the highest standard for a service to achieve.