Educator with young girl

How to Make Your Childcare Centre Stand Out

Educator with young girl

There are many childcare centres out there, and it can be difficult to know what to do to ensure that yours stands head and shoulders above the rest.  

The main thing that parents are seeking in a childcare centre is a place they feel confident leaving their little ones, so making sure to foster a safe and clean environment should always be your number one priority.

But beyond that, how do you truly differentiate your business? Read on for 6 tips to make your childcare centre stand out. 

1. Offer Extracurricular Activities 
Extracurricular activities such as sports or foreign language lessons are important to a child’s development in terms of mental stimulation, social interaction, and/or physical activity.  

While most parents will be looking to enrol their children in activities of this sort, it can be a challenge to fit them into everyone’s busy schedule and sometimes limited budget. Offering various extracurricular activities will therefore be a huge bonus for parents considering your centre. 

2. Invest in Staff Engagement  
A high staff turnover at daycare centres can make parents nervous, which means you should do your best to hang onto your staff for as long as possible. This means driving up staff engagement — and there are myriad ways to achieve this.  

For example, invest in training and personal development plans. Create a social budget for team bonding activities. Give honest feedback, and give praise where it is deserved. Ultimately, do whatever it takes to ensure that your childcare centre is a pleasant place to work.  

3. Develop a Consistent Code of Conduct 
When it comes to working with children, consistency and fairness is key. Parents need to know what to expect from you, and they need to know that each child is being treated the same way.  

Develop a code of conduct and share it with all parents before their child starts at the childcare centre, while emphasising that both the childcare centre and the parents must stick to the agreed rules. This should cover everything from hours of operation and discipline to feeding, vaccines, and what happens in case of emergency.  

4. Hold Events 
Host events to make parents feel like they’re part of the community at the childcare centre. This could mean small events at pick-up time, where parents are invited to relax for a while and see what their kids have been up to over the past few weeks.  

It could also mean bigger community events like barbecues, fairs, or an open house, where prospective parents are invited to get to know you and your staff. If you opt for this route, ensure that you have plenty of business materials prepared to hand out.  

5. Over-Communicate
While people would usually prefer not to be bombarded with communication, parents would generally rather receive too much information rather than too little when it comes to the safety and happiness of their little ones, 

With this in mind, make sure they know that they can reach your team at any point while their child is at the centre, and send regular email updates that don’t require a response from busy parents.

6. Implement Childcare Software
Software can be a huge asset when it comes to running your childcare business as it can help streamline and improve your overall operations.  

In particular, implementing software with a dedicated parent portal will be a major draw for parents — anything you can do to make their lives a little easier is a huge plus. A parent portal will allow parents to complete tasks such as bookings and payments right on their mobile phones, saving everyone precious time. 

For more information on the benefits of implementing childcare software, please contact our team.

Children playing outside

Outside is the place to be – the benefits of outdoor learning for children

Children playing outside

The benefits of outdoor play for children of all ages are well documented, with outdoor environments offering unique opportunities for children to engage in play based learning and sensory experiences.  

Outdoor play allows children of all ages to explore, discover and appreciate the natural world, and to be active, strengthening both fine and gross motor skills. When children play outside they can test their physical limits in ways which are more challenging indoors, and engage in “messy” experiences.  

By planning experiences in the outdoor environment, educators can help children to access a range of benefits, as well as meeting their obligations under Quality Area 3 – Outdoor and indoor spaces are organised and adapted to support every child’s participation and to engage every child in quality experiences in both built and natural environments.  

Healthy bodies 
When children run, jump, skip, hop, climb and roll outside, they are developing their gross motor muscles, balance and coordination. Playing in a sun safe way outdoors helps children to gain access to vitamin D, which is needed for strong bones, and to help fight disease. Spending time with the sun “warming your bones” can boost emotional well being also.  

Some studies have shown that children playing in dirt can expose them to allergens and bacteria which can help to build immunity, with emerging research showing that such exposures under the age of one year can help to prevent allergies from developing.  

Growing brains 
When children play outside, they learn more about how to manage risk. Being able to use loose parts and have self direction over their learning allows children to approach risk and make decisions about how to play safely and practice setting challenges, becoming aware of their limits and pushing their abilities at their own pace.  

When children are able to experiment with how high they can climb, how fast they can run, how far they can go, they will make mistakes, but they will also learn more about their bodies, and grow in confidence, lessening the chance that they will take big risks when they have more freedom later in their lives.  

Space to be  
Children’s wellbeing can be enhanced by having time in green spaces. In Japan, the practice of shinrin-yoku – bathing in the forest atmosphere, or taking in the forest through the five senses – is known to bring a sense of comfort, ease stress and worry, and help in clarifying thoughts.  

When children spend time in nature, it can support them to experience the same benefits, and offer time and space which is governed by the rhythms of nature, which can be very soothing.  

No such thing as bad weather  
All too often, children will be prevented from playing outside because it is too hot or too cold. When educators instead work with children to “be prepared” with hats, warm clothes, access to water play, raincoats and boots, there’s no such thing as “bad weather”. 

A number of ECEC services offer indoor/outdoor programs, where children are free to choose where they play, or place a focus on making natural materials available. Some services go a step further, offering children time, space and freedom to explore the natural environment through programs such as bush or beach kinder.   

Regardless of how the outdoor program is made available, there are lots of benefits for children learning and exploring the natural world. More ideas about how to do this are available in the “further resources” section below.  

Further resources 

Bush Kinder: Starting an outdoor learning program 

Designing outdoor play spaces – easy ideas for educators 

Outdoor learning environments – best practice principles