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Find out if your childcare service meets government standards: Stay At Home Mum shows how

Sophie has Just Turned One!  Now I Have to Go Back to Work…. Little Sophie just turned one.  I really had to go back to work at Stay at Home Mum (in my new role – as the Stay at Home Mum!), but the thought of putting Soph into daycare, the same little girl that has been joined to my hip for 12 months… well I was packing it!

And the thing is, Sophie is my third child, so it isn’t like I haven’t done the whole Daycare thing, but she is my last baby…. And only the best will do for Miss Sophie! So I had to find out which local Daycare Services not only had a place, but also had amazing ratings that I could see!

Going back to work I’m headed back to work at Stay at Home Mum, which is great.  But it was great to take that year off to spend quality time with my baby.  I took little Soph into the office all the time – where I hardly got to hold her as the girls would scoop her up and make a huge fuss of her. But it’s time, I need the money, and the new position I am going into was awesome.  But the sheer thought of putting Sophie in Daycare made me cry (for months).

I got straight onto Google to do some research about all of the childcare services in my area. Living in a rural area, I was astounded that I had 18 childcare services to choose from, all within 10km of my house!

Finding the right child care service

So with 18 different Daycare services to choose from, I had to find out which one not only had a potential place for Sophie, and would suit our family situation, but would be AWESOME and highly rated.  I worried that if I made the wrong choice she’d end up working at a less than desirable job for the rest of her life…

There is a Government website called Starting Blocks

I found Starting Blocks in my internet Google Search. It’s a Government website (so not biased at all).  It has an easy search function to find APPROVED education and care services Australia wide. All these services have a quality rating (which really helps you as a parent choose the very best service for your child!). But this website isn’t just about childcare, it has loads of great information such as developmental milestones, activities you can do with the kids at home, sleeping hints and tips on reading with your toddler!

Starting Blocks also covers all the following types of childcare:

  • Long Day Care
  • Family Day Care
  • Pre-School / Kindergarten (Part of a School)
  • Pre-School / Kindergarten (Stand Alone)
  • Outside School Hours Care (After School)
  • Outside School Hours Care (Before School)
  • Outside School Hours Care (Vacation Care)

Which is great as some of the girls in the office had been struggling to find Vacation Care for their older kids who were getting bored of just being at home during the school holidays! Plus trying to work with loads of kids running amok at the office is damn hard!

You can compare Childcare Centres instantly!

When you enter your postcode and select the type of childcare service you require, all the options come up instantly!  Best of all, you can see how these services are rated under the National Quality Standard (NQS).

Here is the very search I did in my area:

Each early education and care service is rated against the seven different NQS quality areas that include children’s health and safety, educational programs, staffing arrangements, relationships with children and more! As all of these ratings come from Government regulatory authorities, you know that they are non-biased reviews!

So how did Sophie’s first day go?

I’m not going to lie, I was a nervous wreck. I even contemplated starting her the following week (you know, just so I knew she…ok I was 100% ready). We had big chats on the way to the centre that morning, the standard ‘don’t replace me with another BFF’, ‘don’t be sad I’ll be back this afternoon’ and ‘to have fun but not too much fun!’

My husband Matt had taken the morning off work eager to not miss the big day and, well let’s be honest, to console me. We were shown the ropes with signing Sophie in and where to place bags and belongings. Without hesitation Sophie was off, exploring the surroundings, talking gibberish with staff and introducing herself to new friends in her own way. Matt and I hung around for half an hour and played until we knew it was about time for us to take off. I instantly got a lump in my throat. The kind that makes it hard to swallow and you could about cry at the drop of a hat.

I wanted to appear fine to Sophie and let her know I was happy for her to stay and play for the day. We both gave her the biggest squeezy cuddles and kisses and told her we would be back in a few hours to collect her.

We headed for the exit and the lovely lady at reception told me to have a wonderful day, and that was it…. I burst into tears! you know the ugly cry you did when you were a kid and you couldn’t get your words out properly? yep, that was me!!!! I cried the whole way to the office. I knew Sophie was going to be fine but the separation from her suddenly felt like too much. (I had barely left her with my husband for 12 months let alone anyone else).

I must have called the childcare service 7-8 times that day (which I am told is totally normal). Keeping myself busy was key, however I did find myself checking the time constantly and wondering if it was too early to go and get her. I would say 9:10am is probably too early, lol.

I picked Sophie up at 3:15pm that day, I was so excited to see her and hear about her first day. I walked through the gate and was greeted by the biggest of smiles and as she stumbled towards me (still a learner walker) with her arms open and ready for mummy cuddles.

I could tell she had a wonderful day. I was told how quick she settled in. Sophie had a day full of lots of giggles and exploring. I was told what she ate, how long she slept, friends she made and how much the group leaders adored our pink princess. 

I’m so thankful I found Starting Blocks to help us give Soph her best first step into early childhood education and care!!  Huge thanks! 

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