MOVING to the Sunshine Coast there were so many things to consider, like where to live, where my wife would work and even where we'd do the grocery shopping.
But nothing was more important, and caused more angst and stress, than choosing the right childcare provider for our daughter.
After all, it is where our 18-month-old would spend five days a week, eight hours a day learning, playing and being looked after.
Over the past week, a lot has been made of the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority's data that revealed which childcares were exceeding, meeting or falling short of national standards.
However, not once did "data" influence our decision and I'm sure it is the same for most parents.
Instead, our choice was based on visiting the centres available, meeting with the provider and getting a feel for the environment in which our daughter would spend her days.
We wanted somewhere safe, clean and friendly.
We wanted a childcare provider who would care for our daughter like we do, who would teach her new things, allow her to develop as an individual and give her the freedom she needed to develop as a toddler.
Over the course of two days we met with providers, setting aside an hour at each while the childcares were open to get a real insight into how they operated.
Data like that released by the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority was never going to give us this.
And are we happy with our final choice?
Without checking the data to see where our childcare rates against national standards, how could we possibly know it's the right place for our little girl?
Well, that's easy. She tells us, not with words, but with the smile on her face, the artworks she holds up with pride when she gets home and the new things she learns everyday that leave as amazed and proud as parents.
We chose a childcare not based on numbers, statistics or data. We chose it for what it would give our daughter, and we couldn't be happier.
* John Farmer is the new deputy editor (online) at the Sunshine Coast Daily.
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