Choosing child care is an important and personal decision. How do you go about making it? Visiting centers is one step in finding the right program for your family. Hearing from current parents about their experiences at the program is another. Below are additional factors to consider…
HEALTH & SAFETY
When evaluating child care, you want to make sure you learn about all health and safety protocols — including exclusion policies and health screenings — and confirm that the practices align with CDC, state, and local guidance. Additionally, find out if the child care program consults with any medical experts.
RESPONSIVE & CARING TEACHERS
Teachers are at the heart of any child care program. The younger the children, the more often teachers should be on the floor engaging at their level. But teachers for all ages should be frequently talking and interacting with children. When evaluating child care, learn more about the teachers in the program; and ask about hiring, training, education opportunities, and retention practices.
EARLY EDUCATION & CURRICULUM
Infant programming should be completely personalized to each baby’s needs. Classroom experiences should provoke curiosity and provide for open-ended exploration alongside the guidance of teachers. Curriculum should be designed to both meet the interests and developmental needs of each age group, and address critical social and emotional competencies.
Look for furniture that’s appropriately-sized for the youngest of children and materials that make the classroom feel less like a mini-elementary school, and more like home. Additionally, there should be soft, clean, cozy places for quiet time; ample space for children to move and explore.
The program you select should welcome all families. Beyond just inclusive practices and policies, the center should proactively engage voices via family partnership groups, and welcome ongoing dialogue via live or virtual conversation.
Carefully considering your ideal center location can help narrow the field. Is your ideal location near your home or near your company’s office? Is there a partner’s workplace you need to factor in?
LOCAL LICENSING & ACCREDITATIONS
All child care centers must be licensed by the state in which they reside. Licensing certificates should be visible in the center. Ask about additional certifications and accreditations that reflect a center’s commitment to even higher quality standards.
This article is brought to you by our friends at Bright Horizons, who are opening a new child care center in NoHo this fall. To learn more about Bright Horizons at NoHo and find out how to register, click here!
Macaroni Kid Lower Manhattan is the family fun go-to source for the latest and most comprehensive information in our area. Subscribe for FREE today and receive a one-year free parenting magazine subscription on us!