Making the decision to start your child's early learning journey is never an easy one to make. Many questions will run through your head such as 'Which child care centre will you choose?' 'How will you know its the right centre for you and your child?', 'Where can you go for further information?' 'What kind of learning will take place' etc etc.
At Hope Early Learning Centre Blacktown we want to try and make this decision as easy as possible for you. So we have provided a list of common questions that we are asked most often on centre tours. If you have a different question, please do not hesitate to ask us in person or via email.
Q. What is the best way to settle my child into the centre?
Q. What if my child is a fussy eater?
A. Don't worry about that. We employ many different strategies in our service to assist you with your child and their eating habits.
Q. How do I know if my child is enjoying his/her time here?
A. At Hope Early Learning Centre Blacktown, we have many different ways that we share your child's day with you.
Q. Is there any difference between Long Day Care and Preschool?
A. Yes. Please see below
There are many differences and similarities between a Long Day Care Centre and a Preschool. The main differences are the hours, the cost and the inclusions.
Long Day Care centres are generally open for 10, 11 or 12 hours per day. Ours is open for 11.5 hours per day. Long Day Care Centres are generally open all year round or may close for two weeks over the Christmas period. Our centre is closed for two weeks over the Christmas period. This provides more flexibility with families who work longer hours, who have shift times or whose schedules are worked out between both parents working.
Preschools are generally open for the same hours as a school. 6 hours per day during school terms only. This can limit families flexibility with working hours as they need to collect their children much earlier than in long day care.
Long Day Care Centres are generally more expensive than Preschools due to their opening hours and the inclusions they provide. For example most long day care centres provide all meals, with some providing sheets and nappies as well. Children don't need to be toilet trained in a long day care centre until they are ready.
Preschools don't provide meals so families are expected to pack a full lunch and snack for their child. Children do not have sleeps at preschool, and they are expected to be out of nappies and completely toilet trained. This can place unnecessary pressure on both children and families - particularly if the child is delayed in development.
People often think that preschools offer a more comprehensive school readiness program than a long day care centre. However this is a false thought. Your child will receive a comprehensive Preschool Program where all developmental needs are met to help them prepare for Primary School. All childcare centres and Preschools in Australia must educate children based on the requirements within the National Quality Framework which includes “Being, Belonging, Becoming – The Early Years Learning Framework.” So educationally, there is no difference at all. However, most long day care centres will begin their education and school readiness from the babies (0-2's) room. So children in a long day care centre have the advantage of more years experience with their education and school readiness than those who begin only in a preschool.
Q. What is a “Preschool program?”
A. A preschool program involves providing a variety of activities that will stimulate children’s learning in all developmental areas. Children are given many opportunities to practice important school readiness skills such as language/communication, social interactions, emotional regulation, self help skills, as well as literacy, numeracy, scientific research, fine motor and problem solving skills. Educators introduce new concepts through child-initiated, play based inquiry and use the environment as an additional educator to cement these new concepts in young minds.
Q. How do you assess if my child has any learning difficulties?
A. Children are observed on a daily basis and developmental summaries are completed twice yearly. These are done with families input and any concerns a family may have about their child are documented and taken seriously.
In the absence of a family's concern about their child's development, educators will talk to families if they notice any concerns with learning difficulties as soon as practical. Shortly after this, we encourage families to sit down with their child's main educator and the Nominated Supervisor to come up with a plan of action to move forward and get the child the help they need. Communication is always open and honest and any input you have towards your child’s areas of development is essential and welcomed.
We are privileged to have been a satellite centre for SDN for a number of years, which means all of our educators have had extensive training in assisting children with their development - especially if they are delayed. Our Nominated Supervisor has had more than 20 years experience as both a professional and a mother of children with learning difficulties and is able and willing to provide all the necessary support to families during this difficult time.
Q. What do you do about sick children?
A. We have a strict illness policy that protects all children and teachers. We ask that ill children do not attend the centre until they are well.
If children become ill whilst in care, they are monitored by educators and an illness observation chart completed. Parents are informed, and depending on the illness and symptoms the child is displaying (in line with our policy) families may be given the choice of following-up with the centre at a later time or collecting the child immediately. Your child is made comfortable and continually monitored until collection.
If your child requires medication, educators may administer prescribed medication whilst they are at the centre. Paracetamol will only be administered if the child has a high temperature that cannot be reduced by cooling methods. If your child is attending the centre with symptoms of a communicable illness, a letter of clearance will need to be supplied first to clear the child of being contagious and possibly infecting others.
Q. Are there any ways I can get involved with the centre?
A. You can be involved directly or indirectly, either by spending time playing with your child, sharing a specific skill, reading, doing an art and craft experience, playing an instrument, sharing your culture etc.
You may like to take part in the formal and informal parent gatherings we have at the centre at one of our information nights, our international dinner, a working bee, a centre event or our annual birthday party. You may also like to take part in the teacher-parent meetings where you are welcome to come and discuss your child’s development with the class educator. (We also have this option as a phone meeting or Zoom video conferencing to fit in with busy schedules.)
We are here to provide care for children whose parent’s are working and studying and we understand that your spare time is precious. The important thing is to provide a variety of opportunities for parent involvement on a regular basis. It’s your choice at what level you would like to participate.