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High staff turnover and general chaos: The red flags to look for when touring a childcare centre.

If you are in the process of enrolling your child into childcare you will probably be offered a tour of the centre. If not, ask for one – they are extremely helpful in making an informed decision.

Choosing a childcare centre is much like buying a house… Some you will know from the minute you step in the door that you are not interested, others will just give you a good feeling, and if you’re really lucky you will walk into one and just know that it’s the right place for your child.

But along with gut feelings, there are some practical questions you can ask to help determine the quality of care and education that the centre offers.

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What is the staff turnover like?

The field of childcare is notorious for having high staff turnover, but this can differ greatly from centre to centre.

A stable team of educators is incredibly important in ensuring continuity of care and learning for kids.

It is critical that children are able to build strong relationships with their educators in order to have the confidence to play, explore and learn. This can only be achieved when the educating team is stable.

If the staff turnover is high, many children will experience feelings of uncertainty and unpredictability, which are not helpful in building a confident self-identity.

High staff turnover can also indicate deeper issues of culture and morale. Low morale and an unhappy educating team will definitely have an effect on the quality of the care and education that is being provided.

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Look past the aesthetics and look at the educators.

Some childcare centres are beautiful to look at, inside and out. And yes, environments matter and they matter greatly. A well-intentioned and cared for learning space can offer lots of potential learning opportunities.

But while considering the physical environment, also take a moment to observe the educators.

Are they playing and interacting with the children with a genuine interest, and with care and respect, or do they look bored, like they don’t really want to be there?

Ask what qualifications the educators have and what access they have to professional development throughout the year.

The educators will have the most profound and lasting impact on your child’s learning and development so it’s worth taking some time to ask about and observe them.

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Do the children look happy and engaged?

When a childcare centre is running like a well-oiled machine you will notice several things about the children:

They look happy.

They are engaged in play, either independently or with a group of other children.

They are respectful of the resources and materials.

They exhibit a general sense of wellbeing.

Childcare centres are busy places and even the most well run and organised centres will have their moments of chaos, but this should not be the norm. If chaos is the norm the answer as to why can probably be found in point 1 and/or 2 on this list.

Every family is different and no one childcare centre will be the right fit for everyone. But take into account these points and look for a general good vibe to hopefully make the decision a little easier.

Feature Image: Getty.

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