Do you know what to look for in selecting a quality childcare provider? Let us help!
We believe an educational approach is key to finding the best childcare service. Our centers focus on Reggio Emilia and S.T.E.A.M. learning programs, which take into account the whole child and provide an outstanding experience for kids of all ages.
Along with a strong educational philosophy, here are 7 tips on selecting a quality childcare provider for your family:
1. Discuss Program Policies
It’s important to have a clear understanding of the policies and procedures your childcare provider chooses to implement. Here are the key things to discuss:
- Experience and certification of educational staff
- Staff/child ratio
- Open-door policy for parental visitation
- Medication administration
- Discipline techniques
- Safety/Emergency procedures
Make sure you understand and agree with the childcare provider’s policies. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and require proof of certifications. If the childcare service is reputable, they will gladly share with you their credentials and assure you of best practices.
2. Inquire about Daily Routines
Quality child care includes more than just babysitting. Through interactive play, focused learning and child-led exploration, the best providers offer daily activities that meet children’s social, emotional and academic needs.
Inquire about daily routines such as:
- Media time
- Snack time
- Rest time
- Outdoor recreation
- Focused learning
- Independent activities
- Group activities
A solid program will have a working routine that is age-appropriate and includes a well-rounded, balanced approach to childcare.
3. Review the Curriculum
As mentioned earlier, an educational approach to selecting quality child care is key. Be sure to review the program’s curriculum and discuss your educational goals with the provider.
S.T.E.A.M. models of education include science, technology, engineering, arts and math, and integrate each of these concepts through hands-on, explorative learning activities. The Reggio Emilia approach involves a child’s natural curiosity and invites discovery through hands-on exploration, problem-solving, and interest-driven curriculum.
Find a quality provider that values early childhood education and offers a dynamic curriculum your child will enjoy.
4. Communicate Effectively
Close communication between you and the childcare provider is an essential part of the selection process. If there are persistent communication gaps, or ongoing unanswered questions, you might want to look elsewhere. Be sure you’re clear on the following:
- Primary means of communication (phone, text, email, etc.)
- Use of emergency contacts
- Problem solving when you cannot be reached
- Updates on your child’s development, behavior and activity
- Weather/Closure updates that are timely and efficient
Quality childcare providers have stellar communication skills and will keep you informed of all necessary information. If you aren’t able to communicate effectively with the provider, take this as a probable sign to move on.
5. Observe Interactions
Part of selecting the best childcare program is observing the interactions between teachers, aides, staff, peers and your child. Look specifically for these healthy interactions:
- Eye-level communication with your child
- Patient assistance in your child’s learning and development
- Disciplinary actions that address the problem while reassuring your child feels safe
- Encouraging activities to build friendships between children
How your child interacts with others in their childcare environment matters. Find a program that values each person and encourages healthy relationships as part of the learning process.
6. Look For a Clean, Organized Environment
Selecting a childcare facility that is clean, tidy and organized should be at the top of your list. Quality providers make cleanliness a priority and take seriously the practice of routinely disinfecting toys, surfaces, and rooms to ensure a healthy environment. If the childcare facility seems run down, in disrepair, or dirty, it would be wise to reconsider your selection.
Here’s a cleaning and disinfecting guide for schools and childcare facilities.
7. Consider Cost and Convenience
While some childcare programs are worth the extra cost or inconvenience of traveling across town, make sure you’re selecting a place that is going to be feasible for your family. Affordable childcare is at the top of the list for most parents, but you don’t want to sacrifice quality.
Meet with the childcare provider to discuss payment options. Ask about payment plans that fit within your budget. Discuss the possibility of increasing tuition and be aware of how and when you’ll be notified of such changes.
Counting the cost of quality child care is essential. By taking a strong educational approach, understanding key policies, and looking for a well-run organized facility, you’ll be sure to find the best childcare program for your family.