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Child Care in Canberra

By Hosinator - 18 April 2011 21

We are expecting our first child in a few months and were told today that we should have booked them into a child care centre as soon as my wife peed on the stick. 

We are looking for suggestions on childcare centres in the Weston Creek, Woden or Civic area.

Our preference is child care centres where they provide some learning and play and not just play and more importantly centres where there are good carers.

We intend on sending our child there from between 12 and 18 months old.

Any suggestions on what to ask the child care centres when we meet with them would be appreciated, can we ask for a tour of the facility and is there anything to look out for?

Any help is appreciated.

What’s Your opinion?


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21 Responses to
Child Care in Canberra
astrojax 7:27 pm 20 Apr 11

the centre at anu, in the heritage cottage by underhill, is brilliant and we love having astromonkey there – as he loves being there – but you may need to enrol or get a gig at anu to get up the extensive wait list to get a spot… the care is great, attentive, fun and educational and they provide morning tea and all nappies. better than northside in childers st, where the staff turnover was a worry and mgt didn’t seem brilliant.

Tainted 6:18 pm 20 Apr 11

Just a quick note about Tizzy Hall- a lot of what she says goes against SIDS recommendations for safe sleeping so I’d look into this before implementing her ideas!

benno1 4:02 pm 20 Apr 11

benno1 said :

As a single parent, I had no choice but to put my daughter into childcare so that I could put food on the table. She attended Abacus in the Treasury building since the age of 6 months, doing full time 5 days a week care. Expensive (around $360 odd per week, maybe more now) but well worth it. I really cant reccomend them highly enough. Once my daughter got to pre-school age, she was well advanced compared to other kids her age who had stayed home with Mum (dont bash me, I have nothing against that if you can do it) in terms of learning and social development. The Pre-School program teached Kerrie was absolutely fantastic and did a great job of preparing my daughter for school.

Teacher Kerrie, sorry.

benno1 6:00 pm 19 Apr 11

As a single parent, I had no choice but to put my daughter into childcare so that I could put food on the table. She attended Abacus in the Treasury building since the age of 6 months, doing full time 5 days a week care. Expensive (around $360 odd per week, maybe more now) but well worth it. I really cant reccomend them highly enough. Once my daughter got to pre-school age, she was well advanced compared to other kids her age who had stayed home with Mum (dont bash me, I have nothing against that if you can do it) in terms of learning and social development. The Pre-School program teached Kerrie was absolutely fantastic and did a great job of preparing my daughter for school.

Feathergirl 10:24 pm 18 Apr 11

My daughter enjoys going to Noah’s Ark in Rivett. Staff are really nice, gentle and caring to the kids. Some are training to get their diploma in childcare or teaching. A couple of male carers too, which I think is great.

Don’t let the search for childcare overwhelm you. Everyone says ‘you’ll never get a spot’ and it can just add stress to an already stressful time. I put my daughters name down at a few centres when she was about 4 months thinking I’d never get a spot and I got offered heaps at about 6 months. But then I thought it was too early to back to work so I turned them all down. I just recently started it all again and I found finding a spot quickish. Anyway, if I could do it all again I’d worry less about care and spend the time enjoying being a new parent.

Also I recomend two things: a book called ‘Save our Sleep’ by Tizzie Hall. Worked wonders for us. Also go to the baby classes at the health centre after baby is born. I have met some awesome new friends that way, created a mother’s group that really looks out for each other and the babies love getting together once a week. Also free morning tea at the classes!

MrsD1ngo 8:03 pm 18 Apr 11

grunge_hippy said :

go with a family day care. if you can find a good one (and it sounds like you have the time at the moment) go and visit as many as you can. its cheaper, they get more one on one time and they are usually not infested with as many sicknesses!

I have had both of my kids in family daycare and daycare centres and would pick family day care hands down.

Agree on family day care!! Both mine had great experiences with family day care in Sydney and Canberra. They will be in an institution for up to 13years (school), let them be at home if possible. It’s not just babysitting. The carers are required to do certain structured activities with the kids but it is still in a ‘family’ situation. Cos of circumstances I had to work, they didn’t miss out on being in a home environment – it just wasn’t mine during business hours 5 days a week. When they are old enough for Pre-School the carers even take them there.

allyroger 4:26 pm 18 Apr 11

Check out Precious Mometz in Phillip beside ice rink. Absolutely brilliant. Their staff have tremendous relationships with the children. Music programs, yoga, majicians, aboriginal dance, field trips to farm, bus wash, art every day, homework, pygama day, storytelling, food included, parent teacher night, to name just a few. Really is excellent.
My relatives have been through a few, some of them put name stickers on the kids back cause they can’t remeber their names – terrible. according to a realitives experience, stay away from Jenny Wren.

Fiona 3:30 pm 18 Apr 11

Coud try Lyons early childhood school?

Kittykate 2:06 pm 18 Apr 11

My daughter went to the Weston Creek Children’s Centre and loved it – I can’t recommend strongly enough. The manager, Emma, always put the needs of the kids first and my little girl thrived.

I’d recommend talking to Emma about putting your name down on the waiting list. She was really helpful to me, as I also didn’t put my name down until I was a fair way into my pregnancy.

Also, they have an approved preschool program for the older kids.

grunge_hippy 1:56 pm 18 Apr 11

go with a family day care. if you can find a good one (and it sounds like you have the time at the moment) go and visit as many as you can. its cheaper, they get more one on one time and they are usually not infested with as many sicknesses!

I have had both of my kids in family daycare and daycare centres and would pick family day care hands down.

Sammy 1:33 pm 18 Apr 11

wrigbe said :

Any centres that offer more than the govt demands for the age group would be good.

Do they exist, outside of some imaginary socialist utopia?

Gerry-Built 1:07 pm 18 Apr 11

All child care centres have a legislated requirement to provide educational programs. Go and ask at a few around your preferred area/s and do a tour – put your name down at the ones you get a good feeling from. I think the advice you got was a little exaggerated… Only places like Radford and Departmental Childcare centres have such a (demand-fed) requirement. we had trouble with #1, because we didn’t get his name on a list quick enough, but shortly after birth was jumping the gun for bub #2. We were first on the list – but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee a spot anyhow.

There are legislated minimum child:carer ratios for all centres too (as are a lot of conditions). The advice about meal provision (@ #2) is very sound, indeed!

I would look for things like children’s artwork on the walls, a tidy, but “lived-in” look (not a clinical, clean, sterile look), toys in good, safe condition and fittings, equipment and furnishings that are well looked after, even if somewhat aged. If the place looks good, it’s a good sign that it is well looked after, and then it is just a matter of having a good feeling about the staff…

colourful sydney rac 12:25 pm 18 Apr 11

Go and visit some centres – when CSRI jr came along we went and checked out heaps – some were appalling – wouldn’t leave a dog at them.

We have experieinced private and not for profit centres and would not use privat again in a pink fit. I would suggest having a look at the staffing profile – if they only employ the very young and have a high staff turn over then avoid them like the plague.

wrigbe 12:10 pm 18 Apr 11

All Childcare centres have to offer preschool type facilities as the children get older.
The most important elements I found were the ratio of carers to children – i.e. if there were not enough carers then there was no individual attention to your child. Any centres that offer more than the govt demands for the age group would be good.
Also see if you can find out the staff turnover rate. That tells you if the staff like the place and also is important because some children find it difficult if staff are constant changing i.e. while some kids don’t mind, some get very upset when carers leave and they have to get use to new carers all the time.
Also check out the average age of the carers. A place where the carers are all really young or all really old is not great – a mix is good.

Finally believe me it is really nice if you can find a centre that offers to provide meals. You are going to have to make school lunches for 13 years. It is really nice if you don’t have to do for the years they are in child care as well. I know it seems like a small thing but when you are wracking your brain about what on earth to pack ‘johnny’ that is healthy and that he will actually eat for the 5th day that week, you will be cursing yourself that you didn’t pick the childcare that provided lunch that was only slightly dearer.

KB1971 11:50 am 18 Apr 11

A bit off topic but i would go & talk to the birthing centre too. It is usually too late to go once your wife is preggas.

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