Starting child care can be a big step for families, and it can be nerve-wracking to figure out exactly what will happen each step of the way. What should you ask on a tour of the centre? What should you bring on your first day? And what to expect when your child finally starts?
We’re here to walk you through each step of the way, ensuring that your questions are answered, leaving everyone feeling comfortable and secure with the Early Learning Services process!
Choosing the right centre
There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing the right centre for your family, such as location, price, waiting lists, the general ‘vibe’ of the place…
As well as the above, why not consider the following while learning more about the centre and taking a tour:
Exactly what’s on offer at the centre: it might be daily meals, flexible hours, or special extra-curricular activities
The programs, learning opportunities and how children will build a strong foundation for their ongoing learning journey
The team: how friendly they are, and how they can assist in supporting you when life gets particularly busy?
The centre’s rating according to the National Quality Standards (NQS), which sets a national benchmark for education and care services in Australia
You may also like to get in touch with our friendly Family Support Team to talk about the child care subsidy and how to make it work for you – or read more about it here.
Above all, trust your gut to tell you when a centre is right!
How to prepare before the first day
Before your first day at an Early Learning Services centre, why not try a “stay and play” day to allow your child to form bonds with their educators?
In the weeks leading up to the first day, you can also read picture books about starting child care and talk positively about the centre to help your child feel prepared and confident.
The night before your child starts care, put them to bed at their regular time and pack everything they’ll need for their first day. If your child is rested and you’re feeling organised, the transition will be much smoother.
What to bring on your first day
Some centres provide sheets, formula, nappies and wipes, so you may not need to remember to pack them!
Otherwise, for babies, be sure to include: nappy rash cream, dummies, bottles and teats, comfort toy or blanket, sun hat, three spare outfits, spare socks, a jumper and a plastic bag for wet clothes.
For toddlers and preschoolers, start with: Spare underwear, water bottle or sippy cup, sun hat, closed-toe shoes, two spare outfits, spare socks, a jumper and a plastic bag for wet clothes.
Plus anything else your individual child may need, such as breast milk, a sleeping bag, dummies, medication.
On your first day
When you arrive at the centre, sign your child in and be sure to greet their educators warmly. If your child sees that you have a good relationship with them, they’ll be more likely to trust them too.
It can be difficult to leave if your child is crying, rest assured that our educators will soothe your child and engage them in entertaining activities to help them settle in.
You’re always welcome to call anytime during the day to check on your child’s wellbeing and progress! You’ll also receive daily updates and photos detailing your child’s learning and development on our app.
Settling in to child care only takes a few days for some children, while for others it might take longer. Rest assured that our team will work closely with your family to ensure the process is as smooth and enjoyable as possible!