Quality of Childcare
The Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority currently administers Quality Assurance systems for family day care schemes, long day care centres and outside school hours care services throughout Australia. Their website has information about choosing quality child care services in a range of community languages, and about the quality standard rating of specific service providers.
The National Quality Standards monitor a service's level of operation against seven areas of quality. A service is required to inform parents of the service's progress through the assessment and rating process as well as the final standard achieved.
When choosing a centre to care for your child, you may like to ask yourself the following questions to ensure that you are comfortable with the centre.
- Are staff warm, positive, caring and professional with the children?
- Is there a written programme of activities that are interesting and that cater for children’s individual needs?
- Is the relationship between staff and parents friendly, open and co-operative?
- Do staff have TAFE or University qualifications? Are there regular training opportunities?
- If the centre is community-based, are you able to get information on parental involvement in policies?
- Are there enough staff to look after the children? For children aged 0-2 years there should be one staff member for every four children; 2-3 years, one staff member for eight children, 3-5 years, one staff member for ten children. There should also be one university-trained early childhood teacher for every thirty children.
- Is the centre safe, clean, organised and inviting?
- Are the centre’s Health & Safety policies and procedures observed?
- Does food meet the nutrition and health guidelines? Are meals on display?
- Does the centre have regular evaluations, staff meetings and parental involvement?