5 Tips what to look for in a daycare

Tips for Choosing a DaycareEven while pregnant more and more mums have the challenge of when they might decide to go back to work and if they will be accessing daycare. Today, we are joined by Lucy Cook, from Amaze Early Education Centre who discusses some important tips to look for when you are considering a daycare for your child.

The thought of choosing a daycare centre can be stressful. Some mums delay going back to work because the decision is too stressful. You’ve been your child’s primary carer all it’s life! How can you possibly find somewhere/someone you feel comfortable and confident enough to leave your little one. Here are 5 tips aimed to help reduce the tears (yours!) and ease the agony of the decision. Lucy shares that are 5 important questions to ask yourself.

1. How do you feeling?
2. What about the Love?
3. Pay attention to the details
4. Who are the educators?
5. What about the education?

How do you Feel?

Have you ever walked into somewhere, a restaurant, cafe, shop, office, and knew it wasn’t right, for no other reason than it didn’t feel right. Choosing a daycare is exactly the same. I know as mum myself, I have visited many childcare centres and when comparing sometimes it came down to the way it ‘felt’. While hard to quantify, it can help to ask yourself a few questions. What was my first thought when I walked through the door? Was I feeling comfortable or ill at ease? Was I feeling welcome or a burden? Did the centre smell ‘inviting’? At the end of the day, feeling comfortable and confident with your choice of daycare is the single most important feeling.

What about the Love?

From the minute you walk in the door, do you feel your centre educators care enough to want to get to know and value your child. This starts from the Director downwards. It is not limited to the Educators in your child’s room. The best centres have Educators that all know your child and take a genuine interest in them. Do you feel a connection with the educators? Watch your child (don’t forget to take them for the visit!). Your child will find the warmest fuzziness Educator in the room (if there is one!). Watch the other children. Can you see this warmth and fuzziness? Can you see little connections happening throughout the room or yard:)

Pay attention to the details

You can tell a lot about a daycare by the details. Are the facilities and equipment in good repair? This doesn’t have to mean brand spanking new. Don’t be distracted by the sparkles. It means that everything has a place in the room. Are pencils sharpened? Puzzles with no pieces missing? There are obvious systems and order, and the centre takes pride in this. Why is this important? Because if you don’t care about the little things, how can you possibly care about my precious child. On a more practical note, a well organised centre will save you oodles of time searching for your child’s lost belongings. Is the drink bottle in the fridge, or outside, in the bag? Where was the jumper taken off? Outside? Oh it’s now dark, I guess I’ll use my phone flashlight to look! It’s the last thing you need to be doing after a hard day of work.


Who are the educators?

Aka carers/teachers etcetera, but definitely not babysitters. Do they have ‘the loving’ gene (see point 2)? Is this more than a job? Educators who are passionate can’t help themselves, and always give more than is required. Let’s face it, they are not doing it for the money (notoriously pitiful pay). Do they look approachable (or are they standing in a group chatting)? Better still, do they come and approach you or welcome you first? Educators that are engaged in children and their learning can be seen with a bunch of children around them. Children are naturally drawn to someone who is interacting with them. These Educators are usually down at the children’s level, bending down for a chat, crawling on the ground, sitting reading a story, singing a song. Good Educators will encourage your engagement with your child’s learning. They will also respect your tradition and cultures and home routine. They will ask you what you did on the weekend AND include it in the program. They will laugh at the funny things your child said AND remember to tell you. They will throw a party in the bathroom with the first poo on the toilet AND get the child to call you. They will cry with you when Grandma passes away or you are simply having a bad day AND give you some phone numbers for referral services. They will form a great partnership with you on the journey of your child’s education.

What about the education?

The education received is purposefully point 5 as without the other four points, even the best education programs will be ineffective. Your daycare should inform you of the centre’s philosophy and how the education program works. In Australia, we follow the Early Years Learning Framework or EYLF (pronounced elf) as it is known. Many centres also offer a government approved Kindergarten program in the year before school which is taught by a Bachelor trained Early Childhood teacher. The best centres run this program 5 days a week. Make sure your child’s learning will be documented. Will they have a portfolio or some way of documenting your child’s learning journey. This should be easily accessed by you at all times but will remain at the centre for the educators to add too. The program should be child centred and child directed. This doesn’t mean that Jessica can choose to go and sit in block corner all day. This means that the Educator has seen the Jessica is interested in blocks and building and has built on his interest by providing a lot of learning experiences around this. For example, the class might use the blocks to measure how tall each child is (maths), some children might choose to be scribes and record this data (English- writing). Sarah’s dad is a builder who might come in and talk to the children (connections with the community). Child centred does not mean there is no intentional teaching. Beware the centre who has a program drawn up at the beginning of the week for the whole week. The program should grow and develop as the week progresses and may draw on experiences from other weeks. This should all be documented with clearly defined curriculum links.

After all your investigations your choice should be easy, follow your intuition, you will just ‘know’.

About Lucy Cook

Lucy CookLucy is a mum of four busy boys, 15 years, 13 years and 11 year old identical twins. She has spent the last 21 years in education, mostly PE and Science teaching across all ages. In 2008, along with her sister Alison, who is also a teacher, they began a kindergarten on the Gold Coast, Amaze Early Education Centre. As Lucy’s children grew, so did Amaze. In 2015, they now have 6 centres across South-East Queensland, including 4 Outside School hours Care Centres, and over 50 staff. Lucy and Amaze are passionate about the communities they serve. As well as running children around between soccer, tennis and drama, Lucy enjoys spending time working with the Gold Coast Multiple Birth Association, Assista Sista (Domestic Violence) and Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation.


What does Mother Mean to You?

Happy Mothers Day Multiples and More Community! I do hope you are having a great day with your family. Do you remember your first Mothers Day?
Mine was in May 2010 and the girls would have been about 5 months old. I don’t necessarily remember the gifts or cards (although I am sure I have them saved somewhere away) but I remember spending the morning at the nursing home visiting my Nan with my mother and family. Many years before, before I was a mum myself, we had started a little tradition for the women in my family to go out for lunch on Mothers day and it was during the lunch my Nan would ask us what our daily and long term goals were. All of us around the table would have an opportunity to share and talk about their goals and its something I think we should do again next Mothers day. Unfortunately my Nan is no longer with us but I am so glad she met her great-grandchilden and we had some special photos before she passed away. Here is one photo I treasure with my twin daughters, my mum and my Nan in 2011.

Mothers day Multiples

What does Mother Mean to you?

So in celebration for Mothers day this year here is a fanatstic video just released where Women from 5 to 50 describe what ‘mother’ means to them. Women were invited from ages 5 – 50 (and every age in between) to respond to one word: “Mother.”

These are their responses.

Working Hard
Take care of you

I asked my 5 year old Adelaide and she said Love, Special and Happy. Whereas Moana says Hugs! I would say Wisdom.

What does Mother Mean to you? Share and comment below and we would love to hear.


Doc McStuffins: Time for Your Check Up

The Doc is in! I love Doc McStuffins and so do my kiddos.“Doc McStuffins: Time for Your Check Up!,” the second DVD compilation for Disney Junior’s hit animated TV series “Doc McStuffins,” will debut May 7, 2013. A must-add to the family viewing collection, the DVD comes packaged with 5 fun-filled episodes and a FREE growth chart.


1 – Gulpy, Gulpy Gators! / One Note Wonder
2 – Tea Party Tantrum / Blast Off!
3 – Arcade Escapade / Starry, Starry Night
4 – Bronto Boo-Boos / Brontosaurus Breath
5 – Doctoring The Doc / Hot Pursuit

I have to be honest and tell you that Doc McStuffins has to be one of the best shows out there right now. This show has made going to the doctor so much easier, in my opinion. We just had our 5 year appointment and 90% of the time I was saying, “now remember on Doc McStuffins when they did this?” Plus, this show is just adorable in general!

Do you and your kids watch Doc McStuffins? Who is your favorite character?

Iron Man 3


I will start this post with an admission. The only Marvel movie I have ever watched, prior to this review, was The Avengers. All of my super hero knowledge comes from a combination of that movie and the Super Hero Squad cartoon.

Scott and I were able to go and check out an advanced screening of Iron Man 3 on Monday and let me tell you, it was awesome. I’m a huge Robert Downey Jr. fan and I love his as Tony Stark. I think he is just truly fantastic and made for the role. After seeing the previews, I knew I was going to love this movie.

Marvel’s Iron Man 3 pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?


The film is rated PG-13 and I truly think that is a fair rating. It is pretty intense at times, so I would hold off taking your younger kids to see it until you’ve had a chance to watch it first.

The special effects were pretty amazing throughout the film, but they were not overly done. There is nothing I dislike more than a film that is strictly about the effects and loses you with the story. This film had a great balance.

 Are you going to see Iron Man 3 over the weekend? I’d love to hear what you think of the film!

QOTW: When Did You Go Back to Work?

I stayed home with my kids until they started VPK and it was a decision that always made me think. Did I go back too soon? Did I go back too late? Should I have not stayed home at all? I stayed home because it was hands down the most economical choice, I think daycare was more than the paycheck I would have been bringing home.

I’m curious to see how many of you stayed home with your kids, for how long and the reason why.

Leave your answer in the comment section and if you have a post about it please leave the link.

Handling What People Say



My twin girls are four. By now, the “You’ve got your hands full!” comments are old hat. The “Better you than me!” comments are still inappropriate, but they don’t cause my blood pressure to rise the way they once did. My canned answer to “Double trouble!” is, “Double blessings!” and I roll right along.

I think that people are generally nice. They want to make conversation. But they don’t always know what to say. And when they do say something, they don’t always listen to what comes out of their mouths.

Once upon a time, when the girls were much smaller, my focus was more on getting through a store during “awake time”, when my girls were content to look around in their stroller. The biggest challenge about comments from random people was that they potentially slowed me down, threatening to get me off schedule.

These days, though, the challenges are greater. No, I don’t want to be in the grocery store any longer than I have to with two curious four-year olds…but I also want to be careful with my girls’ tender hearts. I may overthink it, but I fear too many, “You’ve got your hands full!” comments might make the girls question one day if they’re a burden.

That in mind, I had The Worst Experience last week when I was at the grocery store with Baby B, a rare one-on-one “date” for the two of us. We were waiting (a long time) in the checkout line. We started chatting with the nice grandmother behind us. She was super sweet, and she engaged B right away. I love for the girls to practice their conversation skills…and it helped keep her little hands away from the ginormous candy display.

Everything was going great until the lady asked if B had any brothers or sisters. When she learned that Twin Sister was at home, she said to B, “I’ll bet you’re the pretty one, right?”

My heart sank.

I piped in immediately. “No, both my girls are beautiful, inside and out! And they are super smart, too. And they are so kind and loving towards each other. We’re very blessed.”

There again, I know the lady didn’t mean any harm. I know she was just trying to engage with B, and I’m certain she didn’t THINK before she said that

My responses these days can no longer be geared just towards getting on my way as quickly as possible. My girls are watching. They are listening.

I’m trying to model grace. And I’m trying to protect my girls’ precious tender hearts. I can’t expect the random lady at the grocery store to have that in mind when she makes idle chit-chat. In reality, I know the onus is on me.

How do you handle comments from strangers? What’s the “worst” thing you’ve ever heard?

Keep up with Mandy and her adorable girls at Twin Trials and Triumphs!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...