20 Tips to Help You Choose the Perfect Childcare Service
Choosing the right childcare for your child is probably one of the most important decisions you will make during their early years. In order for your child to feel secure and happy with their childcare provider, you must feel confident and happy with the provider that you chose.
So before you make that all important decision there are several decisions you will want to make.
- Do you want a child minder or a crèche for your child?
- If a crèche how important is the size of the crèche?
- Would you prefer a small homely crèche or a large purpose built childcare facility
The best way to figure out the answers to these questions is to visit with childcare providers, ask lots of questions, make sure you are shown around the whole premises, and observe the staff and children in the various rooms.
Don’t be put off if a childcare provider insists on setting up an appointment rather than having an open door policy. There are several reasons for this.
- A childcare provider will be cautious about who they allow into the building to look around, and will probably not allow a stranger who knocks on the door to enter. However if you call first and leave a contact number and are happy to arrange an appointment the childcare provider will be comfortable with the idea that you are genuinely looking for a place.
- Crèche workers are busy people, and if you call without an appointment you may find that there is no one free to show you around or to answer your questions.
There are many valid questions to ask a childcare provider during your visit, here is a list of the most frequently asked questions:
With regards to staff:
- What is the staff/child ratio?
- What qualifications do the staff have?
- Do all staff have current first aid training?
- Have all staff being garda vetted and is this information available to parents?
- How long have staff members worked here?
- What hours do staff members work in a week?
- What happens if a staff member phones in sick?
With regards to the care your child will receive:
- How many children will be in the class with my child?
- When will my child move from one group to another?
- Will my child spend all day in one room?
- Do age groups ever mix?
- How long will my child spend in the garden?
- What meals are provided is there a menu?
- What education curriculum do you use?
Policies and Procedures you should be given access to:
- Opening times
- Maximum numbers
- Staff Ratio Policy & Procedure
- Class lists, curriculum etc.
- Admissions Policy & Procedure
- Language Policy & Procedure
- Partnership with Parents Policy & Procedure
- Settling in Policy & Procedure
- Confidentiality Policy & Procedure
- Equal Opportunities Policy & Procedure
- Managing Children’s behaviour Policy & Procedure
- Illness Policy & Procedure
- Immunisation Policy & Procedure
- Prevention of contagious illness Policy
- Information on infectious illness
- Accident Policy & Procedure
- Observation/Record Keeping & Assessment Policy & Procedure
- Child development Policy & Procedure
- Outdoor Play Policy & Procedure
- Sun Protection Policy & Procedure
- Toilet Training Policy & Procedure
- Toileting Policy & Procedure
- Safe resting/Sleeping Policy & Procedure
- Child protection Policy & Procedure
- Biting Policy & Procedure
- Food hygiene Policy & Procedure
- Fire Safety Policy & Procedure
- Complaint Policy & Procedure
- Copy of Parent Complaint Form
- Outings Policy & Procedure
- Policy & Procedure for Lost children on outing
- Sample of consent form for outings
- Recruitment & Selection Policy & Procedure
- Training Policy & Procedure
- Disciplinary Policy & Procedure
- Nappy Changing Policy & Procedure
- Copy of Insurance
- Copy of Childcare Regulations 1996, 2006.
You may want to have a second person with you when visiting childcare providers. They may remember to ask a question that you forget, they may observe something’s that you miss, and it is always helpful to have someone to talk through your decision with.
While no one ever wants to put a price on the cost of their child’s welfare, it does of course factor into the decision. There is no reason to pay above the odds for excellent childcare. If you feel a facility is over charging you are probably right, always go with your instincts.
Remember every pre-school child is now entitled to a Free Play School place for one year before they attend national school. Make sure the childcare provider you chose is offering this to you.
For more information on the excellent Childcare you can expect from
Tír na nÓg check out our website
Or call 01 8220515 to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our childcare professionals.