Looking for the perfect childcare centre for your baby is one of the most challenging tasks a parent would go through. With more and more child abuse cases in Malaysia, it’s only natural that we get even more worried about separating from our child, going back to work and leaving them with a care taker you are unsure about. Since your baby will be spending most of their day time away from you, there are a number of factors that parents should look at when it comes to picking the right childcare centre.
Besides looking at your budget, which is one of the major factor, there are other factors that should be considered when choosing a childcare centre including location, flexibility, transparency, professionalism and their education program. We decided to dissect each of these factors with Cutie Cottage Childcare Centre’s founder and director, Ms. Yew Tian Tian who is also a mother of three.
Pick a location that is either close to your house or close to your office in order to ease drop off and pick up. Choosing a child care centre that is out of the way, will not only require more time on the road, it can also be stressful with the morning and evening traffic.
Besides, if your child care centre is near your office, it’ll give you that opportunity to check on them, provided that your childcare allows it. It is also an added benefit for breastfeeding mummies who are required to go back to work after their maternity leave. Having the child care centre close to you would enable you to visit your baby during lunch or breaks to breastfeed your baby directly instead of having to pump all the time.
Ms. Yew Tian Tian is an advocate for breastfeeding and believes that every mummy should be given the flexibility of feeding their baby whenever they want. For example, Cutie Cottage Childcare Centre in Damansara Uptown is nestled between office blocks and towers. Mummies can freely visit their baby during working hours to breastfeed their baby whenever they please, thanks to their flexible visitation hours.
Such flexibility provides the freedom for mummies and reduces the stress of being away from your newborn child.
Since most children would be spending a majority of their time away from their working parents, transparency is also one of the major factors that parents should look into when choosing a child care centre.
Picking a centre that has CCTVs installed, or better yet CCTVs that are connected online, would allow parents to log in to view and watch their children’s activities. This way the whole centre is exposed to parents, giving parents a sense of security and relief, as they can check on their children and the centre whenever they please.
Besides having CCTvs installed, Ms Yew Tian Tian also believes that parents should always be informed of their child’s day-to-day behaviour. That is why all her centres would have a daily report for each child, to inform if the child is eating well, sleeping well and so on.
Are the caregivers certified? Does the childcare centre have nurses? These are a few of the questions that you should be asking yourself. Every childcare operator, supervisor and child care provider would need to attend and pass the Basic Child Care Course recognised by the Department of Social Welfare. So make sure to ask the child care centre you’re looking at if they’ve done the course.
Besides that, a good child care centre would also ensure that their staff are vaccinated and have a good medical report. A child’s immune system is much lower compared to an adult’s, hence it is important that risks are minimized to ensure the health of our children.
Childcare ratio according to the Department of Social Welfare
Caretaker : Child
3- 4 years
Children with special needs
Last but not least, look at the centre’s education program. What is their focus? How are they conducting their programs? How is their education program like? Are their activities age- appropriate?
Some of the best child care centres cover the 7 areas of learning, which are communication and language, physical development, personal, social and emotional development, literacy, mathematics, understanding the world and expressive arts and design.
Ms Yew Tian Tian does not believe in forcing a 4 year old to sit down and write, instead she works on strengthening the muscles and focus on behavioural development in the early stages. She also mentions that not all kids are the same. “Girls may be more compliant to sit down and write compared to boys,” she said. It is important to have a child care provider that understands that every child is different and that they develop in their own time.
Picking a child care centre may not be an easy task, but it is an important one that cannot be taken for granted. A good child care centre will not just take good care of your child, but it also helps in shaping your child’s behaviour, personality and values in life. It may sound heavy, but if you think about it, their brains are like sponges in these few years of life, and it our responsibility to put them in an environment where they will be able to flourish to be the best person that they can be.