Child care and/or pre-schooling is a great resource for children and families. Sometimes, however, it can be hard to know how to get the best information and support from those caring for and educating your child.
Tips for conversations with the child care centre or pre-school
- Try to schedule in a meeting time rather than catching the workers at drop off and pick up.
- Try to schedule in regular times for getting information, rather than when there is a problem arising.
- Request the meeting with the Centre Director and if possible the teacher/primary carer for your child. It is helpful if you can share information on the needs and the likes/dislikes for your child.
- Your Early Links or Key worker (or another support person) can go with you when meeting with the child care centre.
Open ended questions to get to know the centre.
Could I have some more detail?
Why is this good to know?
My child has recently been diagnosed with a delay/disability, how can we work together on this?
Could you tell me about your experience with children with special needs?
What funding is available?
How would the centre use funding specifically?
Can my child’s keyworker or therapist come to the centre?
A chat about the general experience and knowledge of the centre can help to reassure parents. It can also allow for a smoother entry into discussing your child in more detail.
Feeling confident in the centre and the primary carer/teacher is important. You can be a good advocate for your child’s needs, so that you and the centre can work together on a plan which best supports and includes your child.
How would you like me to share ideas and external therapy plans with the carer/teacher?
Will the centre be able to use some of the things that work for us at home such as behaviour management techniques or rewards/motivators?
How should the therapist/key worker involved provide information?
Using similar strategies at home, therapy and the centre/pre-school can help your child.
Agreeing on how information is shared will help make sure that the information is meaningful and understood. Some centres appreciate a written report whilst others might prefer a meeting.
Tell me more about my child’s day
What does my child do during the day?
How do the carers direct my child?
What activities do you encourage?
Knowing the basics can help to know what to work towards and plan next.
What strategies help manage and care for my child’s behaviour and mood?
How does my child move from inside play to outside play?
How does my child move from one activity to the next?
Does my child sit at group time?
You want to know what works and whether the carers need more strategies to help. This information might help at home as well.
How does my child play with things, and how does my child play with other children?
Does my child join in a variety of play?
What level of interaction exists between my child and others?
You want to know if your child is being actively included and directed towards different activities. You may look at how your child could be more supported socially.
- You have a right to information about your child, and a right to inclusion of your child in child care and schooling. This inclusion should be meaningful so that the rights of the child are respected and the child is supported to reach their full potential. Please speak with a social worker if you would like more support in this area, or if you have concerns.