What to look for in an Early Learning Centre
So, you've decided you're going to enrol your child into an early learning centre; what now? New Shoots co-owner, director and founder Michelle Pratt talks us through what to look for…
Choosing an early childhood centre must feel right for you and your family. We have spent many years at New Shoots exploring what this means for parents, children and our teams. It's hard to pinpoint, but I can share that you will know when you find it.
How to look for emotion-focused early years environments
"Emotion is the foundation of learning and must be the cornerstone of design for early childhood environments."
– Dr Sandra Duncan.
Emotions fuel children's memories
The stronger the emotional connection, the stronger the memory. When children grow into adulthood, they will not remember the table or chair – what it was made from, what colour it was, or how it looked. They won't remember the group size or the qualifications of the teachers. They will remember
how the environment made them feel.
Other things to consider
- Days and hours of operation. Do the hours of operation suit you and your family?
- Fees and associated costs: Do the fees and additional charges meet your budget and relate to the quality of the teaching staff, resources and environment?
- Group sizes and ratios: Are you happy with the teacher-to-child ratio?
- Food and nutrition, and nappy supplies: Are all meals and nappies included? And if so, is the food cooked on-site? Has a dietitian reviewed the menus?
- Routines: Are infants on individual routines determined by their parent or caregiver followed by teachers? How are sleep requirements managed? At New Shoots, all infant routines and sleep requirements are child-specific and discussed with parents regularly.
A significant number of parents are not looking early enough. They are shocked when they discover a waitlist’s length and limitations. I would recommend that you start visiting and making plans while you are pregnant.
Stay tuned for part three in this checklist, where Michelle discusses what else you should be looking at when choosing childcare for your little one | newshoots.co.nz