Find the Closest Early Learning Centre Near You
When great early learning centres are in high demand, getting into the one you want can sometimes make you forget about the things that really matter!
When looking for the best early learning centre, there are obvious things to look for. The level of care; the educators, teachers and centre leadership; the environments and resources; how you feel when you’re in the early learning centre.
But not unlike real estate, choosing a suitable early learning centre is also about location. Convenience is a major factor. It’s important to ask yourself which early learning centres are near work as well as which are near your home. Because in the day-to-day reality of doing drop off and pick up around your day’s duties, the location of your early learning centre will have a huge impact on your stress levels and ability to maximise time with your child.
As a general rule, if your early learning centre is conveniently located to your home or workplace your days will likely go a lot more smoothly. Drop-offs and pick-ups will be so much less stressful when you don’t have to factor in things like traffic that might make you late for a morning meeting. Or a huge distance to cross should your child fall ill and you need to get to him or her quickly.
These things matter to your day and they filter through to your child every time you say goodbye. Knowing the travel time to and from your chosen centre will help ensure you leave yourself enough time for a proper goodbye.
Trusting someone to care for your child is an important decision. So, make sure you consider not just where the centre is located, but also whether it’s the best option for you and your family. Think about the practical considerations, like:
- What are their operating hours?
- How do the pick-up and drop-off work at the Centre?
- Do they have a Preschool or Kindergarten program?
- Do they offer casual care bookings for when you need them?
- Has the Centre been through assessment and rating?
- What communication do they offer for families?
- Can you claim the Child Care Subsidy? What will your out-of-pocket expenses be after subsidies are deducted?
Here are some other questions to ask when choosing the best early learning centre for you.
Finding the right setting for your child can make a huge difference in the way they feel about learning and how they engage with the people around them. It’s good to think about:
- Will your child enjoy the scale and stimulation of conventional childcare centres or preschools versus the quieter, smaller group offered by family daycare centres.
- Some centres offer a more rigorous learning program; others might prioritise things like music and languages.
- Some are more play-based while others observe a traditional learning program.
Early learning is not babysitting. Children learn at all ages and the best early learning centres will encourage your child’s development. Ask questions about the Centre’s curriculum and the programs and experiences that they offer. Guardian’s approach focuses on meaningful play-based learning. Learn more about our approach to teaching.
Great early learning centres have a focus on social and emotional development in children, supported in a number of ways:
- Enabling separation from parents and carers
- Developing confidence and pride in who they are
- Learning to take responsibility for themselves and others
- Communicating and forming relationships
- Becoming adaptable to cope with change
- Practising resilience by persisting in the face of challenges
- Initiating, being involved and willing to try new things
- Problem-solving and encouraging curiosity.
Teachers and Educators are skilled at fostering your child’s early interest in and aptitude for learning. However, it’s important for parents and families to remember that children do not necessarily need to be able to read, write or count before they start formal schooling.
Although they’re young, your child has no doubt begun to reveal his or her strengths and interests. What’s more, you probably have a pretty good idea of what they don’t respond to. You might like the idea that children of varying ages interact with each other in a big space, or you might feel that your child would be overstimulated or pushed aside in such a large communal play area.
Some centres tend to divide children according to their age to provide a focused space for them to work through their own developmental milestones. Other early learning centres feel that younger children benefit from multi-age play. There are arguments for both systems so the right environment really comes down to your child’s individual needs and likes.
So, while convenience is a key factor in choosing the best early learning centre for your child, there are a number of other factors that come into it.
Browse the map below to see which Guardian early learning centres are near you, and click through to read more about the centres and what they offer for families and children