Is your house ready to act as a family daycare?

 

Your home is your business, especially when you run a family daycare centre. You’ve made the decision to become a carer to other people’s children as well as your own and that’s great. However, is your house ready? There are official guidelines and policies that franchised and family daycare centres must follow, but in this article we’ll touch on the less ‘official’ items.

 

Childproofing

The house is going to be a home away from home for young ones. And this age group has a habit of getting scraped knees and banged heads. Accidents and injuries happening are a given, so taking prevention measures is a must.

Time to clear out the mess

Go to the hardware shop and stock up before the parents come to visit. Some of the basics include the following:

  • Security gates
  • Electrical outlet covers
  • Corner guards
  • Drawer locks

You can check out more useful items on Parents.com.

 

Food

Decide early on if you’re going to include food costs in your fees setup. In the ACECQA guidelines, family daycares have a one educator to seven children ratio. This means seven little ones you’ll be catering for. Encourage the parents to pack snacks and one meal for their child so catering isn’t such a burden.

Expect to be part carer, part caterer

Food needs to be stored, though. Your fridge might have leftovers crammed in there from your own family’s dinner, so think about investing in a second one, about bar size is all you’ll need. Put it in the garage if there’s no room in the house.

 

Toys

When the kids aren’t out on excursion with you, they’ll be playing in different areas around the house. Stock enough toys to go around. Soft toys, books, building blocks, and loose parts are some of the essentials that every daycare needs in stock.

  • Loose parts (bric-a-brac including wood, metal and PVC items)
  • Paints, pencils and paper
  • Colouring books
  • Age-appropriate books
  • Soft toys (animals, figures), large plastic toys (buckets, trucks)

 

Furniture

The dining room table and chairs you have in your house aren’t child-friendly, even if you have a booster seat! Kinder Design’s purpose-built furniture includes tables and chairs, alongside cubby houses and storage shelves.

This is another way that will separate the ‘daycare centre’ from your home. The whole house isn’t going to be dedicated to the home business. Investing in the daycare furniture and some security measures (like locks) will make sure there’s boundaries.

Read these for more advice:

Tips to setting up a daycare service at home

Harness creativity with these childcare activity ideas | Around the web

Amazing resources to get your daycare centre ACECQA-ready

The Australian Children’s Education and Quality Care Authority is the body that ensures every daycare centre is following the set national standard. They make hundreds of annual inspections every year and give out ratings based on what they see during these visits. Their website is a one-stop-shop of official materials that centre owners and carers should get familiar with if they want an excellent rating.

National Law and Regulations

There’s different Acts in effect state-by-state, except in Western Australia. This page gathers them all in one place for centre owners to review.

The National Law exists so there’s one set standard for early childhood education across the country. Once a daycare centre, after school care, or early childhood education centre registers itself, they’re under obligation to make themselves familiar with the National Quality Standard.

 

Guide to the National Quality Standard

7 quality areas with 2 to 3 standards in each area equals 18 standards all together. The NQS sets the bar on the standards daycare centres need to meet in order to receive an ‘excellent’ rating.

The 7 quality areas are:

  1. Educational Program and Practice
  2. Children’s Health and Safety
  3. Physical Environment
  4. Staffing Arrangements
  5. Relationships with Children
  6. Collaborative Partnerships with Parents and Community
  7. Leadership and Service Management

The administrators who do the assessment look at these seven areas and mark the centre’s practices against their highest standard.

 

Guide to Assessment and Rating for Services

The assessment and rating process is outlined comprehensively in the link above. But any experienced daycare centre owner will tell you that the process isn’t short. It’s an 8 week undertaking before the visit takes place, and an additional 5-7 weeks after that for the report to arrive. The centre owners are encouraged to provide feedback and point out any perceived inaccuracies.

Providers will receive a four week notice when it’s their time for inspection and must submit a Quality Improvement Plan in that time. After that, they’ll get a five-days notice of the visit (though this varies). Business should carry on as normal on inspection day so the assessor can get an accurate picture of life at the centre.

Quality Improvement Plan

A QIP is a self-assessment. Not everyone’s strong point but it’s a necessary step to getting the rating you deserve.

The self-assessment covers the business areas of your daycare, including staffing arrangements and how the children are grouped (if at all). There’s also a section to write about your centre’s philosophy. After that, there’s sections to complete on the 7 quality areas, how the daycare centre is meeting them and how they can be improved.

ACECQA Information Sheets

This page condenses important information found throughout the site, putting them into bite-sized PDFs for service providers to review.

There’s forms for service and provider approval alongside National Quality Framework guides. Information about the assessment and rating process is also here.

 

The ACECQA Excellent Rating

This rating is the top-tier; a level service providers and educators should aspire too. The following criteria has to be met to get this award:

  • The service exemplifies and promotes exceptional education and care that improves outcomes for children and families

 

  • The service demonstrates leadership that contributes to the development of a community, a local area, or the wider education and care sector

 

  • The service demonstrates commitment to sustained excellent practice through continuous improvement and comprehensive forward planning