Choosing The Best Daycare For You And Your Preschooler

daycareThere is no harder decision when you have children than the daycare they will attend when you are working. The environment a child is in between infancy and five years of age can have an enormous impact on that child as he or she grows, learns and moves forward in life. It is vital that parents choose the best possible daycare for their individual boy girl. However, with so many to choose from in any area, this can be more difficult than it first appears.

It should start by making a list of places you are willing to consider. There are some that are out of the running because they are too far from home or work. Others should be added to the list based on referrals from friends, family,  your pediatrician and coworkers. Once you have this short list of possibilities, you are ready to begin the research.

Start by visiting the website for each school. Look over the programs that are listed online. View the pictures of the facility. Take a moment to call the center and talk to someone about their services and how they help the children grow and learn. If you like what you find online and what you hear on the phone, then you can call to set up a tour of the daycare.

Your first impressions of the school are important. If it makes you nervous for some reason you can’t quite name, it will probably make your child nervous. Walking away from a center over a poor first impression is absolutely acceptable. You will be trusting your most precious and loved child to this group of people and you need to feel confident about that decision.

If you are comfortable with the center upon walking in, then you are ready to proceed with a tour. Talk openly with the person who is showing you around. Ask questions about the center, what qualifications are required to work there and what kinds of activities the kids will do. Here are five issues in particular that you want to get more information about.

1. Education – School is all about learning and it can start with toddlers. Even babies who are crawling can start to recognize shapes and colors. Talk to the teachers in the center and the administrators about what kind of educational philosophies the center uses. Are they hands-on? Do they believe in learning through play or do they focus heavily on worksheets for the older boys and girls. There are no right or wrong answers here, it’s all about how comfortable you feel with it and if you think the system will work with your child.

2. Accreditation – Find out what type of accreditation the school has. What are the quality standards? How are the standards measured? Outside accreditation means that the school is held responsible to an outside agency. Look for schools that are always striving to improve their school and even their methods so they can provide a more positive experience for the children.

3. Teachers – There’s more to daycare than changing a diaper and providing lunch. Look for daycares that will stimulate your child’s eagerness to learn. Find out if the providers for the older children have any teacher training. Look for schools that encourage professional development for all of their direct-care staff members.

4. Environment – The school should be safe. The toys should be age-appropriate. It should be fun, most of all. Look for a daycare center where the children seem happy or content. Avoid those where many of the children are crying. While the occasional unhappy babe can’t be avoided, it should be the exception and not the norm. Look for teachers who are interacting with the children. Above all else, look for a school that keeps a clear schedule. A presence of a good schedule in your child’s life during the day will make the evenings less stressful for you.

5. Policies – Know what the center’s rules are regarding behavior problems, illness, toilet-training accidents and other issues that may arise. Find out how the school will communicate with you if there should be an accident. Confirm that all staff members are CPR and first-aid certified. Finally, verify that the center is licensed and insured.

The care received by your child now will set the stage for the rest of their lives. Choose a quality daycare establishment that will encourage your daughter and help her learn. Look for a center that will help your son grow in addition to keeping the children safe and well-fed. Look for a facility that will also keep your children happy and enjoying learning.

Submitted on behalf of Primrose Schools: day care providing the best in early childhood education Emily Patterson (@epatt1062)