Parents nowadays have plenty of options for childcare facilities and the process of screening and finally making a decision can be quite stressful. There are plenty of resources online telling you which ones are the best over the others but, in the end, the question really boils down to this: what do you and your child need?
To make the process simpler, here is a five-step checklist for families with small kids ages 1 to 4. This list should give you a solid ground to stand on in your quest for the perfect fit.
1 - Is it nationally accredited?
In the world of early childhood education, having a national accreditation is equivalent to having a gold star. This means that the school and its staff haved passed rigorous standards and adhere to an approved curriculum. Learn more about what constitutes this strict process at Explore & Develop.
2 - Ask for a tour and then check all the basics: cleanliness, safety, nutrition
If none of these basics are done correctly, move on to the next option. These three are non-negotiable. The center should be clean and must practice proper sanitation procedures. Its amenities should be suited for small children and there must a strong protocol in case of any emergency. The school should also have a strict policy on the types of snacks being served, if these are part of the package.
3 - Ask to see the classroom and take note of the facilities
Are the classrooms arranged in a way that empowers small children to learn and explore? Great classroom are those that not only provide access to different learning avenues, but also encourage reading and literacy, as well as promote a sense of belonging. These may include cubby holes with students’ names and photos, art hanging on the wall, books positioned to be within reach, and more.
4 - How are the teachers?
During your tour, observe the kids in the class. Do they adore the teacher? Are they engaged and participative? Do the teachers seem like they are sincerely loving what they do? Observation matters. The bottomline is, if the children love their teachers, they will love the school and the idea of learning. If you have concerns about your little one, this is also a good time to bring it up with the staff. Their answers will reveal a lot about their methods and how open they are to working with you.
5 - What do your instincts tell you?