Sending your child to daycare is a significant milestone for any parent. While the prospect of leaving them ”with strangers” may seem daunting at first, the right daycare environment can do wonders for your child’s development.
Ideally, you want to choose a daycare that allows your child not only to enjoy their time away from home but thrive, too. Choosing a daycare in Gillingham does not have to be a complicated or overwhelming experience. You need to know what to look for.
This blog outlines how to choose the best facility and environment for your child.
Consider the Daycare Curriculum
When you send your child to daycare, you want to take age-appropriate learning into account. No matter how old they are when they start daycare, the curriculum should cater to your child’s developmental needs.
You want to take some time to look over the daycare education programmes and what they offer in terms of learning and daily stimulation. Ask about the lessons that they teach and the age range of these lessons.
Learning aside, the daycare should also offer a good amount of playtime between children. This is also an essential part of a child’s development as a whole. Make sure the daycare is willing to send you regular updates of your child’s developmental progress, too.
What Is the School Environment Like?
This is an important factor to consider because, essentially, your child will be spending a big chunk of time in this environment. Overall, this can directly impact their mental and emotional wellbeing, not to mention their behaviour.
You want the daycare to be a warm, inviting, and friendly place. The location should also be relatively close to home for you so that you’re not spending hours commuting to and fro. Consider the layout of the daycare centre and whether it’s safe, i.e., are there any indoor/outdoor hazards that make you feel uncomfortable?
Don’t be afraid to ask about the safety and security procedures of the daycare, too.
What Type of Facilities Do They Offer?
Aside from being a warm and welcoming environment, you also want the daycare to be geared towards learning. With this in mind, you want to ask about the facilities they offer to make a good educational environment. What type of materials do they teach with? And what type of learning materials do they offer children of all ages?
Ensure that you do a thorough once-over of the daycare to scope out how safe and clean their facilities are. You also want to ensure that they’re all child-friendly and age-appropriate.
What Are the Operating Hours?
For some parents, the operating hours of a daycare are absolutely paramount as to whether they’d be a good fit. This is because most parents are bound to their working hours and need a daycare that can accommodate this. If you have a little more flexibility with your work hours, then perhaps this would not be as important to you.
At the end of the day, you want to choose a daycare that can also offer flexibility. Enquire whether their operating hours are fixed or if they charge for late pick-ups and early drop-offs. You also want to ensure that they also offer backup plans if you’re faced with unforeseen circumstances and can’t be there to pick your child in time!
Scope Out the Ratio of Staff to Children
This is super important. You want to have the peace of mind that your child is accounted for when you drop them off at daycare every day. In this case, there must be a decent or adequate amount of staff children ratio, i.e., enough people to look after each child in the daycare.
The more staff the facility offers, the better the care and attention your child will receive. This is also best if your child does well in small groups rather than larger ones.
Ask About Teacher Experience and Certification
Another way to secure your peace of mind is the assurance that all teachers and staff working at the daycare have the right experience. You also want to ensure that teachers have adequate certification to be teaching your child.
Do your homework on the staff at the daycare and ask about each staff member’s experience and credentials during your visit. You also want to find out if they’re certified in First Aid, CPR, and infection control.
Take note of how staff members interact and treat the children during your visit, too. You want the staff to be engaging, patient, and respond well to each child.
What Does a ”Day in the Life” Look Like?
Before you settle on a daycare option, ask them what you expect during a typical day at the facility. This includes the day’s routine, the daycare and classroom activities, playtime schedules, nap time schedules, feeding schedules, and any outdoor activities or trips.
It’s important to think about your own child’s needs and routine and how well they will respond to a typical day at the facility.
Always Trust Your First impression
As the saying goes, nothing lasts longer than a first impression. As a parent, you want to trust what your gut tells you about a daycare facility as soon you walk in the door and get a feel for the place.
It’s important to trust your instincts and the feeling you get from your first impression of the facility and the staff. If something doesn’t feel right, this could be a red flag that you shouldn’t ignore!
It’s also important to take your child’s reaction to the facility into consideration. If they seem iffy or uncomfortable, this could also be the sign you need to look somewhere else.
Looking for a Reliable Daycare in Gillingham?
At Happy Bunnies daycare in Gillingham, you can rest assured that your child is in the best possible hands. With top-quality childcare and consistent parental support, we are your purpose-built and driven daycare option in the area.
Established in 1993, we have the experience and expertise to provide your child with a rich, supportive, warm, and educational environment they need to thrive.
Learn more about our Gillingham Business Park nursery and make the best choice for your little one.