Find the Closest Preschool Near You
There is so much focus these days on ensuring children are “ready” for Primary School. But what does that really mean? And how do you choose the right preschool for your child to give them the best possible start at school?
Firstly, it’s great to start with the most important and the most practical considerations when choosing a preschool for your child. As these are the factors that will impact your lives day to day. Let’s take a look at some of these factors and what you should look for when choosing a preschool or kindergarten program for your child.
Approach to care
The quality of care and education in a preschool setting is the number one factor families look at when making a decision. Will, my child feel safe, loved and cared for when I’m not there? The best way to know if the preschool you have chosen will do these things is to take a tour. You will see and feel very quickly how the centre approaches to care and how happy and well-adjusted the other children are. Go with your instinct. If you’re still unsure after taking a tour, most centres will offer the option of an orientation visit or casual day where you can come in and allow your child to try the centre. That means you can walk away feeling reassured that you’ve chosen the best preschool for your child and family.
While the care factor is number one, practical elements also need to come into play when you’re choosing a Preschool. If your Preschool 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. And knowing your child is nearby is reassuring and makes life easier if you need to factor in appointments during the day, or if your child falls ill and you need to get to him or her quickly.
Is there parking on site to make drop off and pick up easier? Is there space to leave your pram during the day if you travel on foot? Is the centre close to public transport like buses, trains or trams? What are the hours of operation – this will also factor a lot into the convenience of the centre location. If you choose a child care centre near home versus the office, how will this impact your ability to drop off and pick up your child on time?
Hours of operation
Most community and school-run preschool and kindergarten programs operate in line with school hours, so do not offer the long care hours available in a childcare setting. That means your child gets the full benefits of a structured daily learning program, while you are supported with the longer care hours we provide. Your child gets the best start to their schooling, while you’re able to better juggle the day-to-day thanks to longer care hours than those provided by community-based preschool and kindergarten programs.
Do they look happy and engaged? How long have they worked in the centre? Happy staff means happy children – so this is a big consideration when choosing a preschool. Ask about staff ratios – it’s okay for a centre to meet minimum requirements for their educator numbers, but what matters more is whether educators look engaged and whether they’ve built quality relationships with the children around them.
Focus on education
The Guardian ‘Moving on Up to School’ Program is led by teachers with specialist early childhood qualifications. The learning programs are based around play. The experiences are lovingly and carefully crafted to be fun, engaging and deliver learning outcomes all at the same time. The programs are based on the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and the National Quality Standard (NQS) for early childhood. With practices and programs connecting directly to the foundation stages of the Australian School Curriculum, from which children will be taught when they enter the formal schooling system.
Does the preschool offer casual care bookings for when you need them? Will the staff keep you up to date during the day with what your child is doing? What will your child be eating on a daily basis? And don’t forget questions about the centre fees and any rebates and entitlements you might be able to claim, like the Child Care Subsidy, which is avaiable for children attending preschool programs in a childcare setting.
Making the decision to leave your child in the care of anyone else is tough enough. At the end of the day, finding the right setting for your child can make a huge difference to the way they feel about learning and how they engage with the people around them.
Don’t be afraid to request a visit before committing to any preschool. When you arrive, look around at the centre at the available experiences. Does the space resemble the natural environment with lots of light, natural materials, and engaging spaces? Do other children look happy and engaged? Booking a tour is easy. Find the Preschool you would like to take a tour of and either book online, or call the centre to arrange a time that’s convenient for you.
With more than 120 centres offering preschool and kindergarten programs across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide, there’s likely a Guardian Centre near you.
Browse the map below to see which Guardian Centres are near you, and click through to read more about what they offer for families and children.