By Sabrina Rogers-Anderson
There are so many factors to consider when selecting an early learning centre for your child, but you should trust your gut feeling above all else…
When I started searching for an early learning and child care centre for my twins, I felt a little overwhelmed. One centre I was interested in had a strong early education curriculum while another offered the convenience of healthy meals prepared by a chef. There was also a third centre that had just opened down the street from my house and their resources were impressive. I had no idea which one to choose!
A friend recommended that I book a tour at each centre to test my “mum vibe”. She explained that she’d spent hours comparing centres online for her daughter and it had all been a waste of time. “You’ll get a feel for each centre when you visit them and you’ll know right away which one is the right fit for your family,” she explained.
I was sceptical at first, but I took her advice and booked three tours. The brand-new centre was aesthetically pleasing with its natural timber toys and large outdoor areas surrounded by trees, but it felt cold and impersonal. The centre that provided meals was too crowded and overwhelming. But as soon as I set foot in the third centre, I knew it was perfect for my twins.
The vibe felt right
The director welcomed us warmly and invited my girls to play while we chatted. As she described their play-based learning programs and asked me about Georgina and Estelle’s interests, I immediately felt comfortable. Her passion for early education was obvious and I knew my girls would be in good hands.
When the tour was over, Estelle and Georgie didn’t want to leave! They’d already connected with one of the lovely educators and another girl their age. They asked if they could play for a little while longer and the director told us to take all the time we wanted.
I didn’t need to think about it any longer – I knew this was our centre and I filled out the enrolment forms right away. The girls were beside themselves with excitement when I told them they would be starting at the centre the following week. “How many sleeps, mama?” they asked.
I called my friend as soon as I left. “You were right!” I told her. “You can make lists of criteria and compare centres online for ages, but it all comes down to your ‘mum vibe’. When you’ve found the right centre, you just know.”
On their first day, I knew I’d made the right decision
Despite their initial enthusiasm for the centre, Georgie and Estelle were understandably hesitant when I tried to leave them in a strange environment on their first day. They started to cry and cling to my legs when I said goodbye. I felt my heart sink.
To my enormous relief, the educators handled their separation anxiety like pros. They distracted them by suggesting that they wave goodbye to Mummy in the special window that looked out onto the carpark. As I drove away, I could see my girls smiling and waving happily. I knew then that my “mum vibe” had been spot on and I’d made the right decision.
The Community Kids Customer Experience Team is here to help
Still not sure where to start when it comes to choosing a child care centre? The Community Kids Customer Experience Team can answer any questions you have, help you decide which centres might be a good fit for your family and set up tours for you.
Our family support experts include ex-educators, parents and grandparents who have been in your shoes before and can help you make the right decision. Call our caring team on 1800 411 604 today, or click here to enquire.