Have you ever shopped around for childcare? It can be scary especially for a first time mom. It can make you wonder if working outside the home is worth it. There are several things to take into consideration when choosing a childcare facility. One that is right for you and your child. Does your child have special needs? What type of care do you want? Is there medication to be given? Are the teachers qualified? Is the place clean? Will they hurt my child? What training do they have?
There are two main types of childcare facilities. The ones who will teach your child and have a structured day or the facility that just watches and plays with your child. Depending on what you want depends on what you should look for.
For either facility you want to be able to:
- Establish if they are following state guidelines. You are able to view their licensing report they receive upon their inspections. Just ask the director for this.
- Also, look to see if their license is current.
- Know what their policy is for background checks
- Know if the teachers are trained: each state should have a basic number of required yearly training hours; make sure that they are compliant.
- Know if teachers are CPR and first aid trained
- Have teachers completed a communicable disease control class?
- What is their policy for distribution of medication?
- What are the procedures in the event of a natural disaster?
- What are the procedures for an incident or accident involving your child?
- How do they handle food allergies?
- How do they handle custody issues?
- Do they have a system in place so they know who can and cannot pick up the child? Do they check ID’s versus the paperwork you have turned in for who is authorized?
- What security system is in place for people entering and leaving the building?
- What disciplinary actions are taken?
Things to look for in a Learning Center:
- What does the curriculum consist of and is it age appropriate?
- What training do the teachers have?
- How will I see my child’s progress? Some centers provide progress reports even in the infant class. These focus on motor skills and eye hand coordination.
- Do they post child’s work in the classroom
- Do they offer hands on experiences?
- In the classroom look for real life objects: pot pans, clothing and food boxes in home living; magnify glasses, magnets and models in science; paints, markers, paper, and a wide variety in art; pattern blocks, manipulative activities, and puzzles in the math area.
No matter the case the ultimate goal is to find a childcare center that will meet you and your child’s needs. One that you and your child feel comfortable in. Visit a few and do not let price be the ultimate decision maker.
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Photo courtesy of Richard Powers