Every parent and carer looking for childcare wants to find the perfect solution. Somewhere safe, welcoming, affordable, and socially and educationally stimulating for their child, while also being adaptable to their work environment.
For many, family day care is that perfect solution.
Family day care provides high-quality early education and care in an educator’s own home. It is a nurturing, natural and flexible learning environment, offering many benefits.
As a leading family day care and in-home care services provider in Canberra and the surrounding ACT region, Communities@Work coordinates and supports almost 100 family day care educators as self-employed professionals. Its award-winning service provides care to almost 1,000 Canberra children and their families.
Communities@Work Assistant Director Children’s Services Phillipa Hargrave discusses what family day care can offer families and children as a child care option.
“The unique small group setting allows our family day care educators to provide a play-based learning program that’s tailored to each individual child’s development needs and interests. So, if your child has special interests, our educators are very skilled at planning their learning program around those to create the best possible experience for your child,” Phillipa said.
“Family day Care can be an affordable childcare option because families are charged an hourly rate rather than a daily rate,” Phillipa explained.
“Many educators have very flexible hours and can offer care at times to suit your working hours, whether those are standard hours, evenings, before and after school care, during school holidays and sometimes even overnight and on weekends.”
Phillipa says families often comment that they appreciate the health benefits of having their children in family day care, finding that being around a smaller group of children means their own child does not get ill as often as they may in a more populated care environment.
“Community engagement is another big benefit. Our families love how our family day care educators are very active in the community. While outings have been suspended during the current COVID-19 restrictions, educators have instead actively engaged in online learning opportunities and forums to support children’s learning.
“Prior to COVID-19, our educators were taking children to nursing homes, community gardens, shops, libraries, local parks or to our playgroups. These outings allowed children to learn from everyday life activities and experiences and become familiar with their local community.”
A large part of the success of Communities@Work Family Day Care and In-Home Care service stems from the support provided to educators by its Family Day Care coordination team and the partnership created between the two.
“Our educators and our team both have a lot of knowledge to share. So together we form a highly successful partnership in leading the education of children in a home environment,” Phillipa said.
“We’re here for our educators on a day-to-day level, providing guidance and advice so they can continue to provide a high level of care. We’re also really passionate about creating networks and support groups to make sure they feel part of a bigger team, and about extending their professional development with numerous training opportunities each year.”
During the current COVID-19 restrictions, the coordination team has been working closely with educators to support families to continue to access their normal care arrangements and have put active measures in place to support the health and safety of all accessing the family day care service.
“We’re proud that many of our educators have been with us for 20 to 30 years,” says Phillipa. “That’s a sign that we’re doing something right.”
Communities@Work is Canberra’s largest provider of children’s services, including early education and care centres, family day care and in-home care, before and after school care, school holiday programs and the Galilee School for vulnerable high school students. For more information visit their website or phone 6293 6500.