How do I choose a childcare centre and then what do I do?
We suggest that you work out with your support network your actual childcare requirements; what hours/days and locations etc. Then you can begin to locate services that fit your criteria. Contact the childcare centre to assess their availability.
Try to visit the centre without an appointment and have a list of questions that are important to you written down; staff qualifications, length of employment etc. Watch the children there and see if they are engaged/playing/learning and is there a happy chatter in the air? If it is a busy time or if there is a squabble between the children, how do the staff react or cope with the situation? Quite often a big indicator is how comfortable do you feel about the centre? Could you see yourself leaving your child there?
If you are happy with the centre then discuss what vacancies they have that will suit your needs. Once you make the decision to place your child, start going for play sessions where you stay with your child in the room, then progress to sitting outside the room while your child is inside. Once your child is comfortable, you can start them going to the service. This transition period is unique to every family and their child's needs.
What are the centre fees?
From $94.50 per day – less with childcare benefit and childcare rebate if applicable.
From $86.50 per day – less with childcare benefit and childcare rebate if applicable.
From $85.50 per day – less with childcare benefit and childcare rebate if applicable.
Please call Centrelink on 136 150 to find out your eligibility.
What are the centre hours?
Bright Beginnings is open from 6.30am – 6pm weekdays, 52 weeks per year except for public holidays.
Do I need to apply to Centrelink?
Yes, if you would like to access the Childcare Benefit and Childcare Cash Rebate, they will provide a CRN Reference Number for you and your child. If you are working/studying/looking for work, you may be eligible for the 50% rebate –which is fantastic!!
If you are on a low income and working/studying you may also be eligible for JET from Centrelink. This is an extra payment to help reduce your fees. For more information contact a JET advisor on 13 61 50.
Do you provide food?
We don't simply because every child and family is different. When a centre provides meals there is usually only one choice per day e.g. spaghetti. Your child may not like spaghetti, or may just like plain pasta. It is very hard to accommodate such varying tastes.
Childcare itself is a big change for children and having different food to what they are used to, can add to their stress. If the family packs their food, then the child is getting familiar items, quantities etc. You may not use salt, or may add flavourings – everyone cooks differently. We also use meal times as a learning experience and talk about the different foods our friends are eating.
All rooms have fridges for your child's lunch boxes to keep their food fresh. Many families pack left over's for lunch, which we can heat in the microwave.
Will my child get sick?
If your child has never been in a group environment, they will now be mixing with lots of children. Children are generous and share!! It's part of the group experience to catch common colds and the like. If you are re-entering the workforce you may very well get sick too from your new work environment.
All staff are trained in hygiene practices and hand washing is our best weapon. Should the need arise though, staff will call you to collect your child if your child has: a temp over 37.5 degrees; vomits twice; diahorrea twice, green nose or is generally unwell.
My child is not toilet trained. Is that OK?
Of course. We will work with you when you and your child are ready to start. Many children use disposable nappies, which keep the child dry so they do not get the sensation of feeling wet when they do a wee. We find that children are toilet training later, usually around 2.5 - 3.5 years old and we put the children on the toilet every half an hour when they are training. We all get there, so don't worry.
My child has a dummy. Is that OK?
Many children have comforters like a dummy, blankey or special toy. They will need them while they are transitioning to care. Once they are settled we can discuss when you would like your child to have the comforter e.g. just for sleep. Then both home and care will have the same expectations for the comforters use.
I have heard children can get bitten by another child. Is that true?
In the younger age groups, such as under threes, children are developing their language. They also strongly believe they are the only person in the universe and every toy belongs to them. They can snatch things off other children; the other child may want the toy back-and use a push, kick, or bite. We as educators will work with the children to use their words like "Stop", "No" and "Ta". These are basic survival words and we build on their language from there.
If a child is repeatedly biting we will look at the big picture – is it with a particular child, in a particular setting over the same toy, do we need more toys out, is the child tired/hungry, does that child like their own space and becomes stressed when someone enters their bubble. We will then anticipate and support the child in these situations.
We are not born with social skills and need to develop these. We will work with you and the child towards developing these skills. Usually as language develops the biting reduces.
I am a shift worker. Can I bring my child in at 3pm?
Of course you can. We appreciate that you want to spend as much time with your child as possible. Our individual group times run from 9–3. This is when all the painting, playdough, dancing, teacher lead activities like music/numbers/letters are planned. 7–9am and 3–6pm is our free playtime outdoors and inside.
If possible we ask that you bring your child in the morning so they are participating in all the activities planned for the day. It is, however, your choice as to your child's attendance patterns.
What do I pack for the day?
• Breakfast (if applicable)
• Morning tea
• Afternoon tea
• Dinner (if applicable)
• Drink bottle with water
• Nappies for the day (5)
• Sheets in a pillowcase or fabric bag
• Change of clothes and undies
• Undies (5) if toileting
ALL ITEMS NEED TO BE NAMED CLEARLY. PLEASE - NO INITIALS.
I am separated from my partner. Can we pay separately?
Of course, we just need to set up two different accounts. You will both need to organise an individual CRN reference number from Centrelink. Because of the two accounts you will be able to access the 50% separately.
What happens when I go on holidays?
If you can tell us in advance then we can put a sign up and try and sell your days to another family. If we are able to sell them then you do not have to pay.
If we do not sell them, then you have two choices: pay the reduced holiday rate ($10 less per day), or access make-up days. Make-up days are extra days you can use for days missed. These are only available when there is space in the child's regular room. We can only book these one week in advance. Make-up days must be used within 30 days of the absence.
My child has a diagnosis. Can we access a support worker?
We will meet with you and your child and assess if the centre can meet your child's needs. If we feel we can, then we will work together to define what areas of support your child requires. We will then make an appointment with Inclusion Support Service to see if the child is eligible for support.
Some children may be eligible for equipment or a support worker. We are excited to work with agencies to help your child develop to their full potential.