About six million children in the UK require some form of childcare – so, if you’re searching for the right nursery or nanny for your little one, you’re not alone.
Still, reaching the end of your maternity leave and wondering what to do about childcare can make for a stressful time. It’s especially hard if this is your first baby. How do you select the right childminder, playgroup, or daycare?
Here’s everything you need to know.
1. Seek Out Trained Classroom Staff
Most daycare centres will make note of their staff’s credentials. A quick check of the website should show you the qualifications and training required to work at the facility you’re considering.
Don’t stop with the staff, though. Check out the director’s CV as well to make sure they have studied early childhood education, academic administration, or better yet, both.
2. Ask About Child Security
Next up, you’ll want to find out how the facility prioritises child security. For starters, a secure childcare centre will have a clear process for signing your child in and out each day. They will make sure that you know the steps, and they will ensure that only those on the list can pick up your little one from childcare.
On that note, be sure to ask about the child-to-teacher ratio. There should be one teacher for every six children if they’re two years of age or younger. But if you can find an even lower ratio – say, one-to-four, your son or daughter will be in even safer hands.
3. Check Out the Classrooms and Curriculum
Early childhood development is all about hands-on experiences. You’ll want to check your potential daycare centre’s classrooms to make sure they have what it takes for your little one to learn.
For starters, look at the walls. Are there stimulating colors and art hanging there? Is there a daily schedule for kids to follow, which helps them understand their routine?
You should also be able to spot plenty of books and age-appropriate toys. On that note, ask about the curriculum to ensure that your child will partake in activities that will open their minds, even at an early age.
Make sure to ask if there are group activities, as well. Even for infants, daily story time should be part of the schedule. Reading at a young age makes it easier for kids to learn to do so themselves when they get a bit older.
4. See If It’s Right for the Whole Family
If this isn’t your first baby, you might have to send more than one child to daycare. If so, make sure it’s right for your older kids and your little one.
Most nurseries will have multiple classrooms, teachers, and curriculums to suit infants and toddlers. So, be sure to scrutinise the curriculum and classrooms for all ages so you know your brood will be in good hands as they graduate to higher year groups.
Choose the Right Childcare Provider
Selecting the right childcare facility can be emotional, but now you have the tools to make a rational decision. Which centre is right for your little one? Only you can choose.
If you’re in need of more advice, click here to explore more of our blog posts on childcare and pregnancy.