The time has come to look for a crÃ¨che for your child.
The selection process must include a number of factors to make certain that the crÃ¨che which is chosen will be able to provide top-notch care for your precious bundle.
When looking for a crÃ¨che, look for crÃ¨ches which are:
- Registered. By law all crÃ¨ches are required to be registered with the local municipality. Each crÃ¨che will need to subscribe to a set of regulations, like the child to caregiver ratio, etc. Health inspectors will frequently visit the facilities to ensure that the premises are kept clean and that there is no potential health or danger risks.
- Clean. When visiting the crÃ¨che, observe how staff interact and care for the kids! Are the children clean and is there constant supervision. Ask to look at the kitchen were the meals are prepared. Visit the bathrooms and make a point to inspect the play area, it is well kept and safe? Has equipment been well-maintained?
- Supervised. Make enquires about the crÃ¨che supervisor or the owner and find out if they will remain at the crÃ¨che throughout the day.
- Well organized. Are the babies kept separate in a nursery and are the older children separated by age?
- Well staffed. Are there enough staff members to provide proper care for the each and every child?
The other aspects that will form part of the crÃ¨che selection process include:
- Meals. Are meals provided? If so, what type of meals and do they offer meals for kids who are allergic to certain food groups.
- Cost. It is all very well choosing the best possible crÃ¨che for your child but it is pointless if parents will not be able to pay the fees. Look for a good quality crÃ¨che, which has affordable fees. The average cost of a crÃ¨che is about R1200 per month and this cost typically includes two meals per day (breakfast and lunch as well as two snacks). Certain crÃ¨ches request that parents supply the mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks.
- Ask if any additional items need to be supplied. Over and above the monthly crÃ¨che fees, there are some crÃ¨ches that ask parents to provide items such as boxes of tissues, toilets rolls, etc. Take these extra costs into account when working out your budget.
- Enquire as to the type of discipline methods which are used? Do you agree with them?
- Location – should the crÃ¨che be located close to work or close to home? Most parents opt for a crÃ¨che which is situated close to their home, however a crÃ¨che based close to work can have its advantages. In the event that a child falls ill, parents will not need to fight their way through traffic to get to the facility. A crÃ¨che which is close to home will allow both kids and parents the chance to interact with other families within their local community.
- Are there extramural activities offered at the crÃ¨che, such as pottery and art lessons, monkeynastics, swimming or dancing classes? Are these offered free of charge, or will they be an additional cost?
- Is the crÃ¨che able to assist with potty training?
- What security measures are in place? Is there a procedure to be followed when children are collected?
- Is there a swimming pool, and if so, is the pool securely enclosed and 100% safe?
- Will the crÃ¨che close over the school holidays?
- What time does the facility open in the mornings and will latecomers be fined?
- Formal classes for tots usually begin at the age of 3. In these classes teachers use fun lesson plans and children are taught to identify different colours and numbers through play, while at the same time their gross and fine motor skills are developed. Does the crÃ¨che offer formal classes?
- Does the crÃ¨che have a Grade 0 or Grade R class? This class will help preschoolers to become school-ready.
Do not be afraid to ask questions and speak to the other moms at the crÃ¨che. If your child is old enough, be sure to ask their opinion. You are entitled to, as a parent, ask questions and inspect the facilities and your aim is to make 100% sure that when you walk out of the facility doors each day that your child will be well cared for and will be happy.
A crÃ¨che which is well run and properly organized will have numerous benefits for both you and your child. If possible, try to visit a few crÃ¨ches in your area and make a comparison of what each crÃ¨che is able to provide, the monthly fees charged by each care facility and what aspects of each crÃ¨che you particularly liked and which you felt were areas of concern!
– Kathy Baron