I remember the first day I dropped Helen off at daycare. I can still feel the anxiety. All of a sudden, I could only think about what could go wrong, and it wasn’t helping at all.
Funnily enough, before I became a mum, I worked in early childhood education and I knew exactly what will happen during the day. However, I couldn’t shake off that anxiety of leaving my only child in the hands of a bunch of people I barely knew.
It’s one of the most talked about moments in parenting – dropping your child off at daycare for the first time. It was quite a challenge emotionally, especially when she started crying.
Fast forward one and a half years later, I saw Helen’s development in her daycare centre. She has lots of friends whom she plays (and fights) with, but it’s amazing too witness how much she’s learnt.
Daycare workers are the world’s unsung heroes. The work that they do is uncomparable to any other form of work. They teach our children to walk, talk, eat properly, read, write, and they just make everyday life possible.
Every now and then you do have problems with daycare workers, but as long as you solve things calmly and peacefully, things usually get sorted without any trouble.
Finding the right daycare centre might be quite an adventure. It all depends on the availabilities in your area, your budget, etc. Helen went to 3 different centres and we’ve been in our current one for over a year and we are very happy with the place.
Here are a few things you need to look out for when you look for a daycare centre:
1. Meets or exceeds the standards of ACECQA (only in Australia). This is crucial. It guarantees the quality of the place.
2. Pay attention to the workers. Sometimes from the first visit, you can tell if the workers enjoy working there or not. Those who obviously enjoy working there are more likely to do a better job.
3. Does it suit your lifestyle? Some daycare centres are very very environmentally friendly, some daycare centres serve nothing but vegetarian food, some daycare centres are bilingual.
4. Search for online reviews. Have they been involved in a scandal of some sort…? Any negative reviews?
5. Educational philosophy. Some people care strongly about this. Do you prefer Montessori? Reggio Emilia? Piaget? Or a combination?
At the end of the day, it’s down to your child’s point of view. They’ll tell you if they’re happy there, one way or another. Follow your instincts. If you sense something is going wrong, investigate it. You have every right, you’re a parent. Just remember that childcare workers have to take care of plenty of other children, so please don’t expect VIP treatment. Your child will be treated equally to other children in the daycare centre.
Finding a perfect daycare is a blessing. I hope you find the right one for your little one(s)!