...Quality Child Care!
...Quality Child Care!
Is child care something you need? Then this brochure can help. Especially if you're looking for the one thing that matters most in childcare- QUALITY. Quality child care can make a big difference in the future of your child, your community, even the world. By choosing quality care now, you give your child a head start on a strong mind, body, and spirit. And a better chance to become a more productive adult. So take your time in choosing child care. Compare your choices. And ask plenty of questions. Here are some general points about choosing quality child care. A good place to begin a serious search is with your local child care resource and referral agency. They know a lot about local choices, and can save you a lot of time.
5 Steps to Finding Child Care
Begin by visiting several child care homes or centers. On each visit, think about your first impressions. But don't stop there. Does the place look safe for your child? Do the caregivers/teachers who will care for your child enjoy talking and playing with children? Do they talk with each child at the child's eye level? Are there plenty of toys and learning materials within a child's reach? You should always visit a home or center more than once. And stay as long as possible so you can get a good feel for what the care will be like for your child. Even after you start using the child care, continue to come back and check it out.
What does the child care setting sound like? Do the children sound happy and involved? What about the teachers' voices? Do they seem cheerful and patient? A place that's too quiet may mean not enough activity. A place that's too noisy may mean there is a lack of control.
Count the number of children in the group. Then count the number of staff members caring for them. Obvisouly the fewer the number of children, the more attention your child will get. A small number of children per adult is most important for babies and younger children.
It's very important that the adults who care for your children have the knowledge and experience to give them the attention they need. Ask about the background and experience of all staff; the program director, caregivers, teachers, and any other adults who will have contact with your child in the home or center. Find out about the special training each one has and whether the program is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) or the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC). Quality care providers and teachers will be happy to have you ask these questions.
5. Be Informed
Find out more about efforts in your community to improve the quality of child care. Is your caregiver involved in these activities? How can you get involved? For more information, contact your local Child Care Resouce and Referral Agency. Or call Child Care Aware at 1-800-424-2246.
What does it mean for you and your child?
- Accredited homes and center voluntarily measure up to nations standards of quality that have been established by national child care organizations. Programs that are accredited have gone beyond minimmum licensing standards and have made a commitment to provide the kind of care, attentions, and stimulating activities that you and your children require.
- Caregivers in NAEYC or NAFCC accredited programs take part in on-going child development training. Trained caregivers are more likely to understand children's needs at different ages, plan appropriate activities, and interact with children in warm and stimulating ways. They are also more likely to provide positive guidance for children, rather than harsh discipline.
- Parents who use accredited programs are very happy with them! These programs undergo in-depth self-assessments, independent observation and approval by professional experts, and final endorsement by a national committee.
Check It Out!
- Do the caregivers/teachers seem to really like children?
- Do the caregivers/teachers get down on each child's level to speak to the child?
- Are children greeted when they arrive?
- Are children's needs quickly met even when things get busy?
- Are the caregivers/teaches trained in CPR, first aid, and early childhood education?
- Are the caregivers/teachers involved in continuing education programs?
- Does the program keep up with children's changing interests?
- Will the caregivers/teachers always be ready to answer your questions?
- Will the caregivers/teachers tell you what your child is doing every day?
- Are parents' ideas welcomed? Are there ways for you to get involved?
- Do the caregivers/teachers and children enjoy being together?
- Is there enough staff to serve the children? (Ask local experts about the best staff/child ratios for different age groups).
- Are caregivers/teachers trained and experienced?
- Have they participated in early childhood development classes?
- Is the atmosphere bright and pleasant?
- Is there a fenced-in outdoor play area with a variety of safe equipment? Can the caregivers/teachers see the entire playground at all times?
- Are there different areas for resting, quiet play, and active play? Is there enough space for the childre in all of these areas?
- Is there a daily balance of play time, story time, activity time and nap time?
- Are the activities righ for each age group?
- Are there enough topys and learning materials for the number of children?
- Are toys clean, safe, and within reach of the children?
- In General
- Do you agree with the discipline practices?
- Do you hear the sounds of happy children?
- Are children comforted when needed?
- Is the program licensed or regulated?
- Are surprise visits by parents encourged?
- Will your child be happy there?
The above is from "Give Your Child Something That Will Last A Lifetime." by Child Care Aware. Used with the permission of and thanks to the Child Care Aware Campaign, 1-800-424-2246.
I hope you find this list helpful.
email your comments or suggestions. Thank you.
This page has been accessed
times since April 25, 1998.
Last updated: April 25, 1998