ChildCare 101 - How do I choose the right Child Care Centre ?
Your child’s formative years are the years where they rapidly develop physically, emotionally and mentally. During these years, a substantial amount of care and guidance as well as a safe environment are crucial to ensure your child gets a solid foundation to develop holistically . With that in mind, there are many important considerations that need to be taken into account when choosing a Child Care Centre for your infant or child.
Here’s a checklist of items to get you started !
1. Is the Child Care Center registered ?
You can check if a Child Care Centre near you is registered HERE. Unregistered Child Care Centres that do not meet the minimum standards under the Child Care Centres Act 1984 (Rev 2007) and Local Authority requirements may not have qualified care providers and have infrastructure that may pose a security risk to your child.
2. How big is the Child Care Centre ?
Every registered Child Care Center has a maximum number of children allowed by JKM based on 3.5 sq. meters of activity space per child. This is to ensure that the Child Care Centre is not overcrowded.
3. Are there enough Child Care Providers ?
Make time to have a surprise visit to the Centre during its peak hours and observe The ratio of Care Provider to child. The strict staff : children ratio as set out under the Child Care Centre Act 1984 (Rev2007) and Regulations is necessary as infants and toddlers require close monitoring:
- 1 Care Provider : 3 infants under 1 year.
- 1 Care Provider : 5 Children ages 1 - 2 years.
- 1 Care Provider : 10 children ages 3 - 4 years.
4. What age group does the Child Care Centre cater for ?
Do check the age group of children. Child Care Centres are only allowed to care for children under 4 years. Older children (primarily siblings) are allowed but limited to a maximum of 9 children only.
5. Are the staff qualified ?
Ensure that the Child Care Center have Child Care Providers who have undergone the PERMATA Basic Child Care Course accredited by the Department of Social Welfare. If you have a special needs child, ensure the Child Care Providers are equipped to cater for your child.
6. Is there safe and convenient access ?
Ensure the Child Care Centre has a safe and convenient drop-off or pick-up point, under constant supervision of a Child Care Provider.
7. Does the Centre ensure a safe and secure environment ?
Check for safety and security of the premise both indoors and outdoors. Check if the Child Care Centre’s drains are properly covered, fences are sturdy and the playing area is free of holes or sharp objects. Also make sure the Centre’s furniture, toys and play equipment are safe and do not have sharp edges. Special children may need access ramps.
8. What kind of Curriculum and Best Practices are in place ?
Ensure the Centre has a proper healthcare and nutrition plan that includes milk, food with protein and fresh fruits and vegetables. The Centre’s curriculum should also be aligned to the standards of the PERMATA Curriculum (more info here). More importantly ensure that there are hands on activities that are appropriate for different age groups.
9. How are parents able to participate in the Centre’s Programs ?
It is compulsory for Centres to implement parental involvement programs in order to provide parents opportunities ot be involved in the Centre’s programs.
10. Are there procedures for child protection and emergency evacuation ?
Do ask if the Centre has procedures in case of emergencies, minor accidents and where possible protocols to safeguard children from abuse or neglect.
11. Are there happy interactions and respectful communication between staff and among the children at the Centre ?
Do ensure that the Centre has a happy, conducive learning environment where positive interactions and communication are nurtured.