Tips for Starting Child Care and Education

Starting early education and care for your child soon? Here are some top tips from Communities@Work's experts on transitioning to child care for children and families.

Communities@Work Capital Hill

Getting to know your Child Care Centre

Starting early education and care for your child for the first time is often an unsettling time for families. Child care centres can be an entirely new environment for your child. But a few simple steps – and the right child care centre – can ensure a smooth transition and turn those fears into excitement and cheers. Keep reading for the list of tips recommended by Kellie and her team of dedicated educators on choosing and getting to know your child care and education centre!

Top Tips for Choosing the Right Child Care Centre

Tip #1: Tour your short-listed child care centres

Look at as many child care centres as you like, ask as many questions as you like and don’t be afraid of ‘silly questions’. There’s no such thing!

Tip #2: Work out what you want from the centre you choose for your child

What are you looking for? What features are most important to you? Not all centres are the same – with different philosophies, routines and facilities. Watch how the other children interact with each other, your child and the educators. This will tell you a lot. You will know what feels right for you and your child.

Tip #3: Come in for orientation visits at the child care centre

Okay, so you’ve picked the centre you like and filled-in the enrolment forms. Now comes the fun stuff. Come in with your child for as many orientation visits as you need. This is a great opportunity for your child to get to know the staff and other children at the child care centre.

But just as importantly, it’s an opportunity for you to get to know the educators, the flow of the room, the routines. See how educators resolve conflict with children and organise transition times between events. Our educators are professional and qualified. Seeing that professionalism in action will help you to build up trust and make you feel more comfortable about leaving your child with us.

Communities@Work Abacus Child Care

Photo: Communities@Work educator and child at our Abacus Child Care and Education Centre

Tip #4: Tell us about your child

Tell us what your child likes to do, what they don’t want to do, their fears, phobias and routines. It’s also helpful for us to know about the important people in their lives, as well as family issues and situations that can impact your child’s behaviour. The more information we can gather, the better we will understand them and be able to develop appropriate strategies to make their transition easier.

Tip #5: Share your expectations with us

Share what you expect from us, so we make sure that we’re meeting your goals as well as ours. That way everyone’s on the same page and moving in the same direction.

Tip #6: Talk, talk and more talk!

Communication with families – lots of it – is one of our key philosophies. Communicating with your child to make them feel welcome. Communicating with you to tell you everything you need to know. And communicating with you to get to know you and what’s important to you.

Tip #7: Involve your child in the preparations

Communities@Work Greenway Child Care

Photo: Communities@Work Greenway Child Care and Education Centre

Allow your child to participate as much as possible in the preparations before the big first week. Include them in centre visits. Talk about the educators so they become familiar names. Let them help with packing their bag. Above all, show excitement, not anxiety about their new adventure, as your feelings will rub off on them.

Following these simple steps will ensure a much smoother transition for both you and your child, and make those first few weeks at your chosen child care centre an enjoyable experience.

Backed by 42 years of experience in educating and caring for children in Canberra and the ACT region, we have fine-tuned this transition process across our 12 early education and care centres to create a positive and reassuring experience for families.

“The key to our successful transition process is that we don’t simply enrol children in our services, we enrol families,” Communities@Work Director of Children’s Services Kellie Stewart said.

“It’s a big step, particularly for those families with their first child. It may even be the first time they’re trusting somebody else to care for their child.

“So we put a lot of effort into making sure they’re comfortable with what we do and have confidence and reassurance. If the family is comfortable then their child will settle much better. That means providing them with as much information as we possibly can and gaining as much information from them as we can.

“This ensures we’re meeting in a collaborative relationship and are all going on the transition journey together.”

Communities@Work Richardson Child Care

Photo: Richardson Child Care and Education Centre

We hope you enjoyed reading our tips for starting your child at a child care and education centre and found them helpful!

You can also read another version of this article on The RiotACT here.


  1. Tex Hooper

    I think you are right about finding a daycare where your kids don’t feel anxiety. I can’t be with my 3 kids while I’m at work. I’ll have to find a good daycare in my area.

  2. Mia Evans

    I like that you suggested allowing our child to help with the preparations as much as possible regarding going to childcare facilities. I will keep that in mind now that I am looking for one for my daughter who is now 4 years old. It will help her to not have separation anxiety now that I will be away from morning until the afternoon.

  3. Victoria Addington

    I am most interested in your tip to allow our children to participate as much as possible in the preparations, particularly in the center visits so they can get familiarized with the facility, educators, and other children. I’m starting a child care and education for my son soon, and this article gave me a lot of pointers. I will make sure to look for a child care or kindergarten program in our area that fits my son’s needs.

  4. Jeff Carbine

    I never knew that youngster care centers may introduce your child to a completely different atmosphere. I never thought that it would be like this, I’ll share this with my aunt. Thank you for the information about daycare.

  5. Olivia Smart

    I liked your advice to come with your child to the centre to get a feel for the room, educators, and the routines. My daughter has been wondering how she can choose a good place for her kids to go. I’ll share this with her since I think it’s a good idea to take your kids with you when you visit the centre so that they can share their opinions about them too.

  6. Millie Hue

    I totally agree when you said that we must let our child participate in the preparations of the first week as much as we can such as visiting the center and talking to the educators with them. I will do that so that my son will not have a separation anxiety issue once I have to leave him at a daycare facility. It will be his first time being left on his own with other people, but I really have to give him this experience while I start doing errands on my own to finish them as soon as possible.

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