For a parent, choosing the right childcare center can be stressful. As a result, parents need to take their time to do the appropriate research and make sure that the center in question is truly a good fit for their child. Here are some simple tips to help in the process.
Tip 1: List Important Personal Factors
First, know your family’s personal needs. Location and price are likely to be factors, but so are the ages of the children. For younger children, an early childhood development program may be necessary, while older children may only need an after school childcare provider.
Tip 2: Know What to Ask
Parents also need to know what characteristics indicate a quality childcare center. Is it licensed by the state? Has the center been accredited by any organizations such as the National Association for the Education for Young Children? Have the childcare providers had any formal training?
Tip 3: Seek Recommendations
Talk to other parents and ask for their recommendations. However, don’t just get the names, ask some additional questions. Have the parents ever used another childcare center? If so, why did they switch? Are they pleased with their current early childhood development program?
Tip 4: Conduct a Phone Interview
Call the director and ask her to describe the facility. What is the typical day like? How much time is spent on formal lessons, playtime, and naps? What are the age ranges, the teacher to pupil ratio, or the staff turnover rate?
Tip 5: Visit the Childcare Center
Arrange a tour of the center that includes spending time in your child’s classroom. This will provide an opportunity to watch how the childcare providers and other children interact with your child. Does the ratio seem appropriate? Is the teacher nurturing, and does she handle discipline appropriately?
Tip 6: Check References
Ask the daycare for additional references and then follow up on them. This is especially important if the childcare center was located through an advertisement and not a personal recommendation. Make sure at least one of the references is from a parent of a currently enrolled child.
Tip 7: Re-evaluate the Childcare Center
Once the child has been enrolled, parents need to remain cautious. Talk to the staff, and be watchful of sudden changes in your child’s attitude toward the center. A few unannounced visits are even better, as these can be the most revealing.
In trying to locate the right childcare center, parents need to take extra care. Make sure to do some research, spend time talking to people, and visit the centers in question. Doing this will help reassure you, and will provide your child with a wonderful childcare experience.