What is high quality care? How do you know if a child care program is a good one for your child?
Look for these seven signs of a quality place for kids:
- A close, positive relationship exists between children and their caregivers. A caring relationship is the foundation of good care. The adult should be consistent, kind, and patient. Look for someone who spends a lot of time talking with and listening to each child.
- The early childhood professional understands child development and has been trained to care for children. When adults truly understand children--the how, when and why certain skills, behaviors, and common feelings develop--they are better prepared to meet a child's needs.
- Children are cared for in small groups and receive the attention they need from adults. Studies show the quality of care improves when children are in smaller groups and get more individualized attention.
- The child care space is clean and safe. Toys and equipment must be in good condition, safe, and sanitary. Inspect the eating, diapering/bathroom, sleeping, and indoor/outdoor play spaces. Well-thought out plans for supervision and emergencies should be in place.
- A variety of activities are planned throughout the day that are interesting and involve each child. Children need a variety of activities such as story time, singing, games, dress-up play, building toys, and outdoor time. A daily routine is also important for creating a stable and secure environment.
- The early childhood professional is respectful of each child's unique background and encourages children to celebrate their individuality. Activities that teach about similarities and differences in realistic, positive ways help children learn to value and respect themselves and others.
- Parents and caregivers communicate daily about the children's well-being. You and your caregiver will be partners, both invested in your child's development. Children are constantly growing and changing so information sharing is essential. Bulletin boards, notes, or a daily conversation at the end of the day are all ways a program can keep you updated.