What To Do First
The obvious first step is to make a list of potential childcare service companies. You do this by searching online which is outside the scope of this article but by using a search engine you should be able to make a list of around ten childcare centers in your local area.
Next Step – Filter Down The Undesirables
Call or email each childcare company and go through an initial checklist. Have a good think about what you want to check and find out from these companies before you contact any of them. Speak to your partner to see if they have any more checks or questions to add to the list.
Here are some recommended questions for your initial (pre visit) checklist;
How many children per care personnel?
You may find some organizations allocate too many children per staff. Obviously the smaller this number the better but it will usually drive the price up. You will have to make a decision on a staff to children ratio that you are comfortable with.
What are their fees?
Make sure you specifically ask them to detail all of their fees include extra fees that may charge you. This is important as you do not want a nasty surprise when the bill comes into your mail box.
Is there a minimum contract term?
This is another ‘small print’ type check. Some childcare service companies make you sign up for a minimum period of time. Find this out and ask if there is an early termination fee.
Do they belong to any governing education bodies?
Ask them if they have official certificates to prove they have registered with their local childcare authority. And ask them if they have any other credentials.
Next Step – Visit The Childcare Companies
Once you have filtered out any companies that obviously don’t fit your needs then you need to make appointments to visit the ones left over in your list. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and have a nose around the place.
Look at how their staff interacts with the children. Would you be happy leaving your staff with these people?
Talk to other parents in the center and ask them for honest feedback on the place. You may have to get a quiet moment without any staff to get a full honest opinion but it is worth doing. If you follow these steps it should help you filter down to a couple of remaining childcare centers for you to enroll your child in.