Parents often wonder how to compare pre-school options – and there are myriad considerations, such as school readiness, education, socialisation, convenience and general care.
In Australia, we now have such a broad range of child care offerings that it can be overwhelming to know which is best for your child. It’s one thing to be blown away by state-of-the-art design and chef-prepared meals, but parents are often left wondering: How will this help my child at school?
All education and care services in Australia are assessed and rated by their respective state regulatory authority to ensure national quality standards are adhered to. These ratings help provide families with a better understanding of the level of service that is provided to their children. It is a requirement for all child care centres to display their rating at all times.
The assessment is based on how the child care centre delivers the seven quality areas of the National Quality Standard (NQS). All centres are provided with a NQS Rating for each quality area, as well as an overall rating. Centres receive the following ratings:
- Significant Improvement Required
- Working Towards the National Standard
- Meeting National Standards
- Exceeding National Standards
Other terms such as, ‘five star’, ‘six star’, etc., are used by some centres in marketing to indicate quality, but there is no official star rating system for child care.
The seven areas assessed as part of the NQS are:
- Educational program and practice
- Children’s health and safety
- Physical environment
- Staffing arrangements
- Relationships with children
- Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
- Leadership and service management
The seven quality areas are the best measure of the type of child care or education provider you’re choosing – and it allows a consistent comparison. As a parent, you should ask how a centre performs in the above areas. However, every child is different – and finding the centre or pre-school where your child is most comfortable, is paramount. Being happy and confident at pre-school will give your child the most positive start to their learning journey.
Contributed by: Little Learning School
Little Learning School is a family run business operating since 2004, with more than 30 locations across Sydney and Melbourne.