Centre visit checklist - tips, questions and prompts to ask
This article will provide you with a downloadable checklist to get you started when visiting a childcare centre. We also provide a couple of tips and prompts.
Logan Whitelaw February 21, 2022
4 min read
Note you can download this guide by clicking here.
In New Zealand, there is a whole bunch of different care types. Have a read of this article to see what those types are. Depending on what care type you choose will affect what your visiting experience is like.
As a result, we have tried to create a checklist that is accommodating to all of the different variations and is as general as possible. Think of this guide as prompts for ideas to think about. You can ask as many (or as few) of these questions as you feel comfortable.
Due to the large variation in care types, each centre that you go to is going to have a different way of conducting their visits. That's why we suggest booking 3 - 5 different centre visits at different places on Kindello to ensure that you get a good understanding of the different options available to you. To get started booking, click here.
The first visit is always the hardest! It is understandable to feel apprehensive and overwhelmed about going to visit a centre as there is a lot of things to consider. On my first visit as a parent, I only asked two questions (about the nappies, and also what happens when our child got ill). Once I had done that first visit, each subsequent visit become easier as I now had a baseline of what to expect. After a while, I enjoyed the process and in the end visited 7 different centres, as I wanted to explore what all of the options available were.
For our checklist, we have decided to stick to the following categories:
- Opening Hours
We will now go through each of those categories and list out some prompts for you to consider. You can always download the checklist as a PDF by clicking here.
- Do the opening hours of the centre suit you?
- Do the centre closure dates suit you?
- Ask about statutory holidays, school holidays and what happens over the Christmas period. This is a good chance to ask about how fees work during these times as well.
- Do the fees and additional costs meet your budget?
- Ask how frequently fees are raised.
- Ask about the billing system, so that you know when payment is expected.
- Are there any meals provided and is this included in the fee?
- Is the centre accommodating of children's food requirements?
- Ask about a typical daily routine
- Ask about sleep times
- Ask about the illness policy, so that you know what happens when your child is ill.
- Ask about the fee implications of what happens if your child is ill.
- If your child has specific medication requirements, ask about how that is managed.
- Ask if technology is incorporated into your child's learning at all.
- Does the centre have a clear vision or philosophy for the children?
- Ask about how the children are comforted, supported and disciplined at the centre.
Phew, there you go a nice list to get you started. By no means is this every possible thing you could ask, but hopefully it covers the bases in a way that makes you feel empowered.
Trust your instinct as well when visiting a centre. No one knows what is best for you and your family and there's so many factors that play into choosing the right care option for your loved one. Often times when you go and do a visit, you will find out exactly what you are looking for and these may be things that you didn't know previously.
We often hear stories about how parents after doing a couple of visits, started to really look at the playing facilities, whereas other parents were interested in a daily routine and what the curriculum and transition to school programmes were like.
Now that you have the checklist, we really do encourage you to book as many visits as possible. Feel free to book as many as your schedule allows.
We are keen to hear your feedback, if you have any suggestions on good questions to ask that you think would help other parents, then please get in contact here. We are also preparing more checklists like these, so if you have any ideas of resources that would be beneficial to you, then please let us know.