A day care center is a place where you can take your children to be watched while you go to work, school, or attend to other activities. You may need a center where you can drop off your children early in the morning and pick them in the evening, or you may just need the day care services for a few hours per day. It may even be that you only need the day care center occasionally when you have something you need to attend to. Whatever your needs are, the day care center you choose should provide you with quality care for your children.
It has been established that early childhood education should have a loving and nurturing component, together with learning experiences which enhance your child’s physical, cognitive and social-emotional development. Quality early education for your child will be determined by the caregivers, the quality of the program offered to the children, and the teaching approaches used.
Quality Of Caregivers
Caregivers should be well qualified and should have specialized training in child care. They should also be creative and nurturing in order to accommodate the individual needs of the children. It is important for you to find out the adult to child ratio at the day care center. A small adult to child ratio is preferred since your child will be able to get sufficient attention.
The turnover ratio of caregivers should be low since a high turnover may mean that the caregivers are not well compensated or they may not be working in a positive environment. It is important that your child has the same caregiver for at least a year since children take time to adjust to new caregivers, which slows down their learning process.
The teaching approach that is offered in a quality day care center should provide a curriculum that has learning goals for the children that are specific. The curriculum should also include aspects from current research on early childhood education that may be relevant to the children. Planned activities for the children and the materials used should promote the development of the children.
The physical development has to do with the growth of the child and the development of motor skills. Cognitive development is the development of problem solving skills and language skills while social-emotional development is the ability of the child to interact appropriately with others. A quality day care center should have a program that enhances all the development aspects.
Selecting A Center
A good place to start when you want to identify a good day care center is to talk to your family and friends who can recommend to you centers that they have previously used. You can also get a list of quality day care centers from child care experts in your area. You will then need to do a background check of the potential centers to identify one that will cater for your needs.
A good day care should have structure and you can request to see the lesson plans for the children. You can also find out the level of education of caregivers and if you will be allowed to drop in anytime to check on your little one.