If you are looking for childcare, you probably have a good idea of what you want. A place that is safe, happy, and loving, where children can learn and have fun. At the same time, the Early Years’ Service (EYS) must also meet your needs. The EYS should be convenient, affordable, and offer care when you need it. Finding an EYS that has the quality and convenience you want, at a reasonable cost can be a challenge.
Save time and energy by using the phone to narrow your search. It is a good idea to contact at least three different EYS and childminders. To get the best response, avoid calling at busy times such as arrival, departure, or lunch time.
It is important to visit the EYS while children are there. You will need to consider accessibility, affordability and quality. A good quality EYS has many long term benefits for children and their families and a quality, play-based curriculum will promote children’s development in all areas.
Visit at least three services. Be prepared to spend some time at least an hour or longer.
You should expect:
Most EYS will have information to hand, possibly in the form of a Parent’s Handbook. This should contain comprehensive and accurate information detailing opening hours, fees, facilities offered, policies and procedures etc. This should leave you with fewer questions to ask however, answers to the following questions are very important in order for you to make an informed decision.
Don’t be shy about checking references with other parents. Selecting an EYS to share the care of your child with is one of the most important things you will ever do.
Remember that it is OK to be choosy. Review the information you have gathered and call back if you have questions that were not answered. Trust your gut instinct. If you are not comfortable with what you have found thus far, keep looking. If a child care arrangement you like is full, put your name on a waiting list. Even if you must use another program temporarily, you will have this as an option if things don’t work out. Prepare your children by talking positively about the new EYS and by letting them visit the place beforehand. Ask your new EYS if it would be OK for your child to bring a favourite toy, teddy bear, or blanket to help ease the transition.