Selecting a daycare facility for your child requires a lot of research and observation. Whether you are looking into an academic preschool, a home daycare, or an after school program for an older child, you must be prepared to ask the right questions and keep in mind specific standards.
Below you will find a list of criteria you can use as a guide. If you come across a daycare center that meets every point, apply as soon as possible; you have found child care perfection.
What to Look for in a Daycare Facility
- A good reputation
Talk to other parents in your area and get recommendations this way. It is also essential that you check online for good reviews. The Internet is an invaluable resource. When you do come across a facility that seems legitimate, ask for names and phone numbers of current clients and call them for references.
- Established rules
While you want to work with a reasonable organization with some flexibility, the child care center should have clearly established practices, rules, and regulations. They should be able to give you a physical copy of their policies, as well. This way it is understood that the staff takes their responsibilities seriously. For instance, a center should have a strict illness policy. A tough policy keeps sick children and staff away from the center so as not to spread the illness. Quality facilities keep infection rates low by requiring all kids and employees to have immunizations and regular physicals.
- Stimulating activities
A quality daycare center provides structured schedules that include periods of physical activity, quiet time, group activities, meals, snacks, and plenty of education through play. TV, videos, and Internet use should be limited. A well-planned curriculum ensures that children are properly developing and having fun.
- Qualified staff
Employees should be educated, with some background in early childhood development and emergency training. Before enrolling your child in a daycare, visit the facility and observe how the staff engages with the children. Caregivers should be enthusiastic, kind, responsible, and prepared. Seek out a center whose staff share your philosophies on discipline, sleep, education, and other issues.