As a mum, the conversation around childcare enters your life with a sense of urgency: How do I know which childcare centre to choose? How do I know where to start?
And there's so much you don't know.
When the time came and we decided to send our son to childcare, we agonised over every detail. We researched dozens of centres across Sydney like detectives and asked every parent we met how they chose which childcare centre they would send their kids to.
As first-time parents, we were not sure what to expect. Would the kids just be playing with toys all day? Would the younger kids and older kids all be following the same programme? Would the kids be eating whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted? Were the educators fresh out of study or did they have many years of experience?
What we learnt
We quickly learnt that childcare centres - and the people who work within them - are so much more than you realise before it's part of your day-to-day life. At their best, childcare becomes a continuation of your own family and community environment, with the centre's facilities and programs designed to build on these foundations.
That's definitely been our experience with Only About Children. My son's childcare educators come from a variety of backgrounds, with years of education and experience, all of which contributes to creating a dynamic environment where he can thrive.
Sending your child off to childcare for the very first time can be a huge milestone in a child's life, and equally as huge for their parents or caregivers (trust me, I know, I cried solidly for two hours after the first drop off). But slowly as each day passed and after more drop offs, I found it a little bit easier, and eventually I realised my son was happy and it was time for me to let go (a little bit).
What we were looking for
When we first started our research, we had three key things we were looking for:
1. The reputation of the centre and qualifications of the educators.
2. The centre's facilities and programs – as well as their approach to health and wellness. Very important these days!
3. The location of the centre in relation to home and work.
Our initial research was quite overwhelming, but with the knowledge that Australian childcare standards are amongst some of the highest in the world, we were in fact spoilt for choice. We soon discovered Only About Children and quickly realised just how exceptional their early learning programs are. Only About Children goes beyond learning to encompass the overall health and wellbeing of the child through nutrition programs, seasonal menus cooked by in-house chefs, allied health teams, active programs, sustainability, and more. It also offers age-based learning environments to encourage every child to reach their full potential in life