A high quality child care centre will maintain a very clear philosophy that communicates the beliefs about children and families, the role of staff and the style of early education program. It will provide a strong, defined vision which will guide the daily practices and interactions of all stakeholders, in fact, when you step inside a centre it should look and feel like a reflection of their vision and what is valued about children, families and education.
I believe it is important that a centre’s philosophy places importance first and foremost on the needs of the children, and that in all of their decision making centre management and staff commit to acting in the best interests of the child. This is what makes a centre high quality.
Management of a centre should also provide clearly communicated means of allowing families to have input into the development or revisions of it’s philosophy. Parents should be invited to share their own priorities, values and beliefs during the drafting or revision process. A philosophy should be regularly revisited to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of the children, families and staff, that it remains relevant to the community it services.
The ABC of Child Care series of posts aims to illustrate for parents what quality child care looks like in practice as both a tool for parents looking for child care for the first time and as a resource for all parents with children in care. As someone who ran a high quality centre for many years, I believe we all share a responsibility to ask questions and expect results when it comes to the environment and people caring for and educating our youngest and most impressionable citizens.
Find the other posts in the ABC of Child Care series here.