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Tips on Choosing a Childcare Centre

About Childcare

Placing your child into the care of another at a creche, Montessori, pre-school centre is one of the biggest decisions a parent can make.  One needs to be sure that your child is safe and secure, that all their needs are being met:-

  • developmental needs
  • communication skills
  • motor skills development
  • socialisation is encouraged
  • and that the individual is being cared for, encouraged to grow and develop positively

We got the team at Jellystone together and we have come up with the key points which you can use to benchmark childcare centres.  We hope that this information will assist you and offers you some reassurance that the choice you have made for your child is a good one.

At Jellystone Park Creche, Nursery, Montessoir, & Nursery we offer a wide range of services to cater for your children every need.  At our quality award winning creche located in the heart of Dun Laoghaire (see our map for details)  we look after children in the following age groups -

Caring Response to Children

When sending your child to a pre-school, crèche or nursery, one of the key things to notice is the way that adults respond to children.  This is not an exact science but observing how adults react to children already in their care is a good indicator.

Talking and Listening to Children

Observe how the crèche staff listen to and speak to children.  Communication is a fundamental ingredient in making children feel secure in their surroundings.  It also helps develop children as individuals.

Tip – look for eye contact being made with children, do they know them by name, how does the child react to the carer when spoken to?

Positive Attitudes

Are the staff friendly towards you? Towards the Children? and Each other?  Listen carefully to the way that the carers talk about children and go about their duties.

Tip – Do the carers look like they are enjoying what they do? Or do they look stressed?

Opportunities for play

Play is a central part of development in children.  There are lots of different ways to play – dressing up, climbing activities, physical skills development – e.g. buntas programme.  Look in the outdoor play area is it safe with colourful toys for the children to play with?

Does the centre have good colour schemes on the walls, interesting things to look at e.g. the work that the children have done, friend charts, finger paintings etc.  This shows that the children in the centre are active during the day using motor skills, working with staff.  All of these activities require communication, motor skills, team work, direction, movement.  They develop your child in a positive way.

    • Pretend play: dressing up, farm sets, play people
    • Physical play: childrens cars and tricycles, climbing frames, balls
    • Construction play: bricks, train sets, Lego, jigsaws
    • Exploratory play: play dough, water, sand, objects that seem strange to children
    • Creative play: paint, musical instruments, a range of equipment for drawing, junk for model-making
    • Table work and activities using fine motor skills: jigsaws, threading beads, stacking, etc.
    • A quiet corner and a good selection of children’s books:appropriate books for the different stages of the pre-school child’s development

Use of Space in the Centre

Young children benefit from being able to play freely rather than doing formal learning tasks. Adults who are well organised provide activities, games and toys that stimulate children because they have thought about all the children’s needs and interests.

When you arrange a visit to a childcare centre, nursery, crèche, or pre-school try to not be distracted by the colourful appeal of the centre but rather look at what the children are doing and how they are interacting with the centre staff.

Young children should have time to play and explore for themselves as well as an opportunity to spend time with centre staff who have an active role in their play. Caring and thoughtful adults will make themselves available to help children and look for ways to extend children’s learning.

Tips – during you visit ask how the activity plans for children in the relevant room that you child will be in are planned out the baby room, the wobbler room, the toddler room, Montessori room, pre-school or afterschool.

Ask how the crèche observes and plans children’s activities – In order to do this correctly carers need to plan in advance and work out activities for children depending on age, ability, and interests.  By doing this they can plan many varied types of play that will help children to learn and develop skills.


All of the above are indications of good childcare, it is also key to check out the professional level of qualifications that staff members hold. Qualifications in the sector vary at the present time so some practitioners will have degree level qualifications and above.  Others will have a FETAC Level 5 qualification which means that the person is trained to look after children without needing supervision. Below this level, staff should always be supervised when working with children.


Childcare for Babies

This is a very emotional type of care.  Parting with you very young child is a difficult experience for any parent.  Therefore it is particularly important to understand what babies need when you are looking for childcare.

Babies should be cared for by the same person every day, someone with whom they can develop a special relationship.

Tips – observe how carers carry babies, how they interact with the child and communicate with them and give plenty of physical reassurance. Babies learn language best when it is wrapped in love. Therefore tones of voice is key, singing and playing are very important.

In addition to play and language, the routine care of babies is important to their development. Nappy changes and feeding should not feel like a conveyor belt system as these are special moments for babies which help them to gain trust and feel secure.

Here are some important things to find out about people who might care for your baby:

      • Will the same person look after your child every day?
      • What would happen if this person is sick or on holiday?
      • How are babies held? Is eye contact made?How are babies fed and put to sleep? Are these tasks done by their key worker?

At Jellystone Park we aim to offer your child the opportunity to develop by catering for their needs:
the child feels secure
the child is stimulated
Interaction takes place with adults
Play is free and expansive

We hope you find the information useful, and if you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly staff on 01 2354946, or email us on jellystoneparknursery@gmail.com.