Do You Really Have To Go With The First Childcare Centre That Offers You A Spot?
Mums & Bubs
My son was merely an embryo when friends advised me I should have him down on a waiting list for childcare. What? I don’t even know his gender, let alone when I’m going to go back to work. But the fear was real. I started putting ‘Unknown Harmon’ down at every childcare facility in the area, and breathed a sigh of relief when one accepted him. I signed him up in a heartbeat. Did I know anything about the centre? No, not at all. The research would have to come after, I assumed.
But this chicken and the
embryo egg situation doesn’t have to be this way. You CAN pick your dream childcare rather than just taking the first one that accepts you. We spoke to KU Children's Services about the misconception that securing a spot at your preferred childcare centre is like winning the lottery. After all, not all centres are created equal.
“Some families are not aware that not all childcare providers offer the same quality of care,” says Chris Legg, CEO of KU Children’s Services. “There’s a misconception that parents have to choose a childcare provider based on convenience rather than quality.”
When we shop around for something, whether it be a car, a house or even a pair of shoes, we do our research. So why do we compromise on childcare - shouldn't our child’s safety and education be our number one priority?
“If you research childcare centres in your area, and waitlist early, you will be able to choose a centre based on the quality it provides, rather than accepting the first place you are offered,” adds Ms Legg.
More Than Just Child-Minding
KU Children’s Services has quality programs in place to ensure children are getting more than just 'childcare' and they draw on more than 120 years of experience to create opportunities that encourage children to connect, wonder, explore and discover. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, KU ensures that children are engaged in learning experiences that are based on their interests.
“Our philosophy supports the National Quality Framework, introduced to ensure consistent, high-quality early childhood education for all children. Using this Framework, our qualified educators provide a play-based program designed to be flexible, recognising that each child develops at their own pace,” explains Ms Legg.
KU has a community-like feel throughout their centres and this is accentuated through the natural outdoor play-spaces. Educators and teachers take great pride in on their inclusive and play-based philosophy, meaning your child will always feel cared for and valued, instilling them with confidence as they grow.
“Our play-based programs provide a wide range of active and meaningful experiences that incorporate choice for children while enabling them to experience many of the organisational elements that are important at school,” says Ms Legg.
Does The Centre Make Your Child Feel Like Family?
When looking for the right childcare it’s important to go with your gut when you do a tour of the centre. Think to yourself, is this centre going to make my child feel valued, seen and heard, rather than just another number? KU believes that your child and their learning experience is unique.
“At KU, we recognise childhood as a special time in itself; a time for all children to be immersed in secure and trusting environments that allow them to explore, play, discover and learn,” says Ms Legg.
“We nurture the development of identity, confidence and capability which form the foundations of a lifelong love of learning. We ensure the voices of children contribute to the work that we do and the decisions we make.”
So What Should We Be Looking For?
As well as listening to your gut feeling, make sure that the centre aligns with you values too.
KU promotes the important values of childhood, leadership, innovation, diversity and inclusion, relationships and integrity, and sustainability. In addition, 99% of their centres meet or exceed the National Quality Standard, well above the sector average of 78%. The National Quality Standard are quality measures that every childcare centre must adhere to.
“These are things like offering play-based learning, maintaining standards of all indoor and outdoor environments, and making conscious and cooperative efforts around inclusion. When a centre has a high rating with these standards, it is of high quality,” explains Ms Legg.
You should also look at how the staff interact with the children. Are they engaged and interested? Do they look like they love their jobs?
“KU Children’s Services is the most experienced childcare provider in the country, employing qualified, caring and highly skilled teachers and educators to provide high-quality early education,” says Ms Legg.
Tips for securing a spot at the centre of your choice:
- It’s important to put your child’s name on the waitlist as early as possible.
- It costs nothing to put your child on the waitlist at KU Children’s Services.
- If you have waitlisted your child early they are much more likely to be offered a place in the centre of your choice.
- Remember that you don’t have to take the first spot. Be empowered to pick the centre that YOU want.