This blog is aimed at any parent who is looking for advice about child care and early learning. I do not work in this industry. My name is Keira, and I am just another loving parent who wants the best for her child. When my child was 2 years old, I decided to return to work. This was the beginning of my search for child care. Over the next couple of months, I learnt lots of useful things from other mothers and those who work in the industry. I hope this blog helps you to make the right choice when it comes to child care.
Going on outings to parks, shops and other local spaces can be an amazing learning opportunity for young children. By engaging in real world activities, children can build social and cognitive skills that are useful and relevant to daily life. That's why it's a good idea to choose a child care facility that will take your little one out on regular trips.
Of course, leaving your child in the care of someone else in the safety of a child care centre can be stressful enough; allowing them to take your pride and joy on an outing in the big wide world is even more nerve-wracking. Thankfully, it's easy to make sure that your child will be well taken care of on field trips if you take a look at your child care centres outing policy.
When asking for a copy of their safety rules, here are 3 key things to look out for.
A Good Staff-to-Child Ratio
According to Australian law, all child care centres must always have at least 1 staff member present for every 4 to 5 children under 3 years old they take care of. While these are generally safe ratios for outdoor trips, many parents prefer to choose centres that set a minimum ratio of 1 staff member to 2 or 3 children in their care. These centres usually achieve these ratios by inviting parents to chaperone outings. Choosing a centre with a good staff to child field trip ratio is a great way to get more peace of mind because you can always be sure that someone will have their eye on your little one.
A Field Trip Uniform
Most of the time, uniforms are unnecessary at child care centres, which is why the majority of facilities don't require them. However, when it comes to outings, uniforms are a vital safety tool. A good outing policy will require all staff and children to wear a uniformed sweater or jacket. This ensures staff can monitor your child's whereabouts within seconds, and also helps your child understand which adults are safe to talk to.
The Right Supplies
When you examine the outings policy of the child care centre you're considering, you should also look for a list of the supplies they take with them on trips. In general, there are 3 crucial supplies that should be available on every outing. The first is a first aid kit; the policy should also state that every trip will have at least one trained first aider. The second key supply is a mobile phone, which enables staff to make emergency calls if necessary as well as keep track of the time to prevent late returns.
Last, but certainly not least, your child care centre should also take a log book with them on every journey. Log books detail the names of all the children on the trip to ensure accurate headcounts, along with listing known allergies, illnesses, and emergency contact numbers.