Tips for choosing a suitable child care centres

In today’s climate, both parents have to work in order to sustain a family. This demonstrated the important role child care centres play in children development. When a child is ready to join a child care centre, parents started to do a lot of research about child care centres.  Parents begin by starting on an iterative process, considering a number of factors. In all cases, parents face tough decisions during the child care centres selection stage because of the importance of early childhood education. Click here to visit Singapore largest Childcare Centres portal to shortlist your childcare centres.

In no order of importance, the following are some factors to consider: –

Organisation and operations

Branding of the child care centres is important because established child care centres have more systematic approach. Some of these child care centres, such as MindChamps are run with the franchise model which tends to follow the high standards set by the franchisee. Established child care centres tends to have more resources hence allowing bigger scale events to be organised. Those smaller child care centres may not be able to provide similar scale events.

 Value for money

Although parents are always willing to spend, they will have to understand the cost structure of these child care centres. Some child care centres tends to be more affordable than others. Cost also depends factors such as whether the child care centres are providing ½ day or full day services, food and curriculum.

Fees for child care centres may also be adjusted according to the supply and demand. Course fees are likely to be adjusted upward or downward depending on the number of applicants. A more reputable child care centres may charge high fees as compared to one that is less reputable. Education is important but high cost can indirectly affect the family financials hence affecting their quality of life. Parents can prepare a budget before they shortlist for a suitable child care centre.

Location

Location may be an important factor to consider but parents are willing to compromise if they find a child care centre they love. Some parents chose child care centres which are nearer to their homes or offices so that they can manage the logistics better and avoid peak hour traffic.

Child care centres which are nearer and accessible by public transport may be more popular for parents who prefer public transport. Child care centres located in prime areas may be more expensive due to rental cost. Parents can use this link to search for childcare centres within your preferred location

Licenses/ Accreditation

A visit to the child care centres is essential because you can ask the operator whether the centre is accredited by any government agency. It may be worthwhile to ask how many children is the child care centre accredited to manage. Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) serves as the regulatory and developmental authority for the early childhood sector in Singapore, overseeing key aspects of children’s development below the age of 7, across both kindergartens and child care centres. Child care centres were licensed by Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), but have come under the oversight of ECDA since 1st April 2013.

Reputation and ranking

Unfortunately, there are no national or international ranking for child care centres unlike schools or universities. This makes selection more difficult because it is very difficult to quantify a good child care without any quantitative measurements or benchmark. This makes the reputation of the child care centres important. Parents can try to ask existing customers of child care centres about the reputation of the school. A background check can determine whether there has been any cases of complaints or negligence. This makes the reviews of childcare centres very important.

Credentials, quality of teachers and their ratio to children

The credentials and quality of teachers are essential and can be seen as an integral part of the child care centres. The qualifications and abilities of teachers may contribute to the reputation of the child care centres. This demonstrates the reason why child care centres are actively seeking quality teachers. Teachers who are certified in other skills such as first aid may be more desired. Parents may favour teachers who are responsive to their needs and those who exhibit a high customer service level. They can even observe the behaviours of teachers. For example, how teachers interact with children and whether they are using their mobile phones frequently could be some possible considerations.

The teacher to children ratio may be an important consideration because a teacher cannot take care of too many children. More teachers will ensure the children are better taken care of but will indirectly results in higher price.

Curriculum

Parents tend to understand more about the teaching methods when they are doing research about a childcare centre. Different models of pre-school programmes such as Project, Montessori, Integrated or Whole Language may be offered to children. Understanding and choosing a suitable curriculum for your child may aim on his/ her progress.

Environment

Parents tend to join open house so that they can be onsite to look at the real environment. This is the time to determine whether environment is conformation for their child. They will observe whether there are CCTVs installed and whether the facilities are new.

Some child care centres may not get a lot of natural light especially if they are located indoor, inside shopping malls or buildings. Some classrooms are small and dark which can make children feel claustrophobic. Some child care centres have huge classroom and big full height windows which makes the room feels bright and airy.

Outdoor play spaces maybe important for children to have a feel of the nature. Nowadays, children may have lesser opportunities to explore nature because technology gadgets tends to keep children indoor. Outdoor play may be something interesting and different for some children.

Safety concerns

Since parents are leaving their child in a child care centre for many hours, it is essential for parents to understand the child safety approach. For example, parents will want to know whether the child care centres are prepare for emergency, evacuation or any unpredictable events. Some child care many use cleaning materials that are less child friendly. There could be safety concerns about stairs, blind spots, basements, furniture risk. Parents should also check whether the outdoor and indoor play areas are suitable and safe for their child. Other concerns such how teachers handle a situation if there is an outbreak of diseases and how they emphasise on security are crucial. Parents do not want their child to leave a child care unsupervised or allow some strangers to pick their child

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