When it comes to childcare parents in the Sutherland Shire now have more choice than ever, so when the time comes to go back to work, or there’s a change in routine, it can be tricky to navigate all the options that are available to you.
MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE
So, where do you start? It’s easy to get drawn in by a shiny new playground, or the latest toys and equipment, but the mark of a quality service goes far beyond this. Instead, parents should ask themselves; are the children engaged in play? Are they having fun? Are the staff engaged with the children not just in play time but during meal times, nappy change and other routine times? Is everything clean?
Sutherland Shire Council has been operating Early Education Centres for more than 40 years and has 11 longer hour Early Education Centres in the area. Council-run centres exist to provide a service to the community, they don’t make a profit, so you can be sure that they have your child’s best interests at heart. The individual needs of every child are respected and warmly supported from food preferences and toilet training, to social skills support and school readiness preparation.
WONDERFULLY HOMELY AND PERSONAL
“As soon as I walked into the centre, I loved the vibe, it felt wonderfully homely and personal,” said mum-of-two Bec, whose four-year-old daughter Vivienne attends Council’s Early Education Centre at Bradman Road in Menai.
“Our family has known the centre for more than five years, as my son Harry – who is now at school – also attended the centre. In that time the Educators have remained largely consistent. The staff always seem so genuinely happy to be there. It’s one of the key reasons why I wanted our kids to attend a Council-run childcare centre. They also operate on a small scale. It means that the Educators get to know your kids and family really well and can tailor activities to their personality, strengths and milestones.”
MEANINGFUL LEARNING EXPERIENCES LED BY YOUR CHILD
Bec continued: “The educators at Bradman Road share regular goals and observations, and it’s incredible to see how truly flexible they are based on what the kids are interested in. ‘We’re Going On A Bear Hunt’ went down so well with my daughter’s group that the very next day the staff had set up a bear hunt learning experience, including water and fake snow. It was a truly magical learning experience and I just love that all that stemmed from a book the kids were engaged with.”
WIDE OPEN SPACES WHERE LEARNING FLOWS
Council Early Education Centres offer academic and life skills education to every child, regardless of their age, because children learn from the moment they start care. It’s also worth noting; their outdoor playgrounds are among the largest in the area, because they were built at a time when land was plentiful. Outdoor play is important and just as much learning and development takes place in the ‘outdoor classroom’ as it does inside.
SUSTAINABILITY IN ACTION
Council Early Education Centres also have a big focus on sustainability education and practices. Ashleigh is one of the Educators at the Bradman Road Menai Centre and is part of the Council’s Sustainability Team. She said: “We have designed sustainability lesson plans for children in all 11 of our centres, covering gardening, the role of worm farms, respect for animals, saving water and reducing pollution, among other things. It has captured the imagination of so many children, they all love it!”
Bec added: “Sustainability and reducing waste are really important to our family, so to have this reinforced by the children’s learning is great. Our kids are already very environmentally aware at such a young age and the centres really walk the talk; at Bradman Road, there’s reminders all over the building about reducing waste and turning lights off. I think it’s brilliant. There is so much to recommend about Council’s Early Education Centres.”
Now is a great time to apply for care in 2020 at a Council centre: www.sutherlandshire.nsw.gov.au/childcare
Contact your local Council centre directly to arrange a tour: http://www.sutherlandshire.nsw.gov.au/centretours
Wondering what to ask when visiting and considering any childcare service? Check out these questions on Council’s website to find out why quality care is important and how to find it: http://www.sutherlandshire.nsw.gov.au/Community/Childcare/A-must-read-for-parents-looking-for-childcare/Quality-childcare-why-it39s-important-amp-how-to-find-it
Sutherland Shire Council Early Education Centres Locations:
- Menai: Allison Crescent Early Education Centre, Bradman Road Early Education Centre
- Engadine: Caldarra Avenue Early Education Centre
- Sylvania: Canberra Road Early Education Centre
- Caringbah: Dianella Street Early Education Centre
- Kirrawee: Fauna Place Early Education Centre
- Woolooware: Franklin Road Early Education Centre
- Illawong: Hobart Place Early Education Centre
- Sutherland: Moore Street Early Education Centre
- Jannali: Soldiers Road Early Education Centre
- Cronulla: Waratah Street Early Education Centre