Choosing a holiday program can be a daunting task, especially if your child has never been to one before. There are lots of aspects to consider and a whole range of different services on offer.
Wherever you decide to send your child, you want to make sure it is safe, affordable and (most importantly) fun!
To help you make an informed decision, think about the following aspects first:
The location of the holiday program is important. It needs to be in a place that is convenient for you to drop-off and pick-up your child each day.Figure out which area works best for you and search for holiday programs in that area. This might be at a school-based service you’re already utilizing for Before and After School Care, or at an external service that is close to work or home.
Fees / value for money
Paying for holiday care each day can quickly add up to a significant amount of money. Knowing what the fees of the service are and any discounts you’re entitled to through the Child Care Subsidy can help you budget this cost.
Of course, cheaper doesn’t mean better when it comes to care for your child. Cheaper fees generally mean less staff, less qualifications and fewer resources. Check the fees listed on the holiday program’s website or enrolment forms. Some programs offer inclusions such as food or require additional fees for incursions and excursions on top of the regular daily fee.
The one aspect of a holiday program your child will care most strongly about is the program. As a parent or carer, you can think of it as getting value for money. The school holidays should be fun for your child so make sure they’ll be going somewhere they can have a good time. Does the centre offer a fun and engaging program? Are there activities and games on offer that your child will enjoy? Are there excursions or exciting visitors coming to the program? Make sure the interests of your child will be met by the activities on offer.
How do you feel when you walk into the centre?
When it’s time to go and take a look at the holiday program, you shouldn’t underestimate the feeling you get when you walk into it. Your first impression is usually the right one. Take a good look around and think about how you feel being in that space because that’s a good indication of how your child will feel too. Is it a happy place to be? Did the staff greet you with a smile? If there are children there, do they seem happy and engaged?
Consider these things when choosing your holiday program and you’ll be on the right track for a safe and fun school holiday period.