Sasha Rama, a teacher at Just Juniors in Somerset Park, and Cheryl Mahabeer, owner/principal of Kiddies Junction in Morningside, agree that the best way for parents to prepare is to educate themselves.
Knowing how their chosen establishment operates will help make the transition easier.
So, before you contort into a pretzel of stress and anxiety, Rama and Mahabeer share what parents need to ask their crèche/daycare centre before enrolling their child:
Are you registered with the Department of Education and the Department of Health?
Being registered helps ensure that your child is in a safe and clean learning environment as crèches will be monitored by the department through random visits.
How long have you been established?
A daycare that is well established has more experience and will have gained the trust of many parents over the years. New parents can therefore use other parents’ experiences to navigate their decision.
Have the service staff been screened?
Knowing that staff have been screened puts parents at ease and ensures that their little one is in good hands.
Are the service staff trained in first aid?
Staff need to be trained in basic first aid to treat children who sustain minor injuries, who are choking or who are burnt while in their care.
What routine does the creche follow?
Ask to look at the crèche’s daily programme - doing so will enable you to know if their structure suits the needs of your child.
Is there a CCTV?
Parents might want to ensure children are not being mistreated and be able to check what their child has been up to while in another’s care.
Having a digital surveillance system can offer parents the peace of mind they need.
How many children are there in a class?
In smaller classes, teachers will usually be able to provide children with the necessary amount of attention they need, without being overlooked due to overcrowding.
How do you handle mealtimes?
Apart from needing to know whether meals are provided, the menu, and at what cost, parents should also ask if the staff are trained and equipped to deal with eating problems (ranging from picky eaters to feeding and swallowing disorders).
What is your toilet routine?
Is there potty training for children who are not fully trained, and are staff willing and able to teach and assist them with using the toilet until they become independent?
Are you open throughout the year?
Parents can rest easy knowing that their kids are still cared for during the school holidays.