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Better Planning: Child Care Tips From The Frontline

Hello. I'm a mum with seven children under ten years of age. As you can imagine, all aspects of child care have become the centre of my life. Finding child-friendly products, appropriate play groups and suitable child care facilities are challenges I face on a daily basis. Of course, I'm much more relaxed now after seven children, and I know exactly what products, play groups, and facilities to look for. I figured that other parents might be able to use some of the hacks I've learnt along the way. I hope you find my entries entertaining and informative. Happy parenting!

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Better Planning: Child Care Tips From The Frontline

Deciding between full day and half day preschool programs

by Soledad Gomez

As children reach preschool age many parents are faced with a decision of whether to enrol their child into a full day or half day program. Here are some of the pros and cons of both options. 

Full Day

Pros - Children in a full day program get more chance to learn and receive extra formal support so may be quicker to pick up numeracy and literacy concepts. The longer day also makes it easier to combine parenting and a work schedule. Many children enjoy the stimulation of the environment and enjoy playing with the school resources and doing planned activities all day, compared to spending time at home with parents and younger children. Some preschools are co-located with primary schools and having the same schedule as older siblings can make the pick ups and drop offs easier for parents. 

Cons - These programs can be more expensive than half day programs. They can still be restrictive for parents with a full day work schedule. They can often be tiring for children, especially those on the younger end of the year. The full day schedule can make it hard for children who are still napping at home to get enough sleep. 

Half day 

Pros - Starting with a half day schedule can be a gentle way to start schooling, especially for children who do not have any experience in formal childcare. It can be a good way to introduce the concept and let children practise the routines of school including placing bags on hooks, independent toileting and mat time. It can also allow children to have other activities in their week, such as spending time with grandparents and other day time class such as library story time. 

Cons - The shorter schedule can feel disruptive for less mature children who find it hard to settle into school, then to transition to leaving in a short period after arriving. It can be hard for parents who live further from the school to manage heading to the school and back again quickly, particularly if they also need to care for younger siblings. There is also less time to spend on learning concepts so some children can learn less in the shorter contact hours. 

If you are wondering what the best preschool program is for your child, it's worth contacting the preschool and touring the classroom. Chat with the teachers in the program to see what might be best suited to your child and family.