When you are looking for a childcare for your little one, you want to find the very best. Your child is important to you, and you want to leave that special little person in the very best hands. But what does that mean? What makes a childcare special?
As you are conducting your search, there are a few things it’s important to look for in a childcare.
- A safe and healthy environment. The center should be friendly and welcoming, with a reputation for providing a nurturing, caring atmosphere for kids. It needs to be clean and sanitary, with food preparation areas far away from diaper changing stations and toilets. Everything should be in good working order, with clean, safe toys and equipment, and safety measures like bars on upstairs windows and working smoke detectors.
- Low teacher to child ratio. The National Association for the Education of Young Children, or NAEYC, has set certain guidelines for the number of children a caregiver should watch. For infants and toddlers the recommendation is one caregiver for every three or four children, for children between 21 and 36 months old, it’s one for every four to six children, for 30-48 months, it’s one for every six to nine children, and for four and five-year-olds the ratio moves to one for every eight to ten kids. Childcare centers don’t have to follow these guidelines, so make sure you know the policy at the center you’re considering.
- Good communication with parents. A reputable center will keep the parents abreast of what’s going on, both with the school and with the children. The center should set clear rules and guidelines, laid out in a handbook. Today’s technology offers many ways to keep the lines of communication open, from newsletters to emails to alerts. It’s also good policy to offer daily and weekly reports for the parents, so when you’re shopping for childcare centers, make sure you’re comfortable with the level of education.
- Well-qualified staff. One advantage childcare centers have over home providers and nannies is the level of education of their staff. Of course, some centers only require a high school diploma. That may not bother you if your priority is simply to find caregivers who are caring and responsible, but many parents prefer a higher level of education. Some childcare centers require at least two years of college and their teachers must take classes and seminars to enhance their education. In some cases, schools that follow certain programs like Montessori or Waldorf schools may require their teachers to have a bachelor’s degree. The most important thing, though, is to watch how the staff interacts with the children, and make sure their philosophy meshes with yours.
- Individualized attention to children. Each child is important, unique, and deserving of attention. Children need to feel safe, secured, and valued, and teachers who pay attention to each child are better able to observe progress and behavior.
- Well-appointed facilities. The center should have at least space equivalent to 35 square feet per child indoors, and 75 square feet per child outdoor. Toys should be stimulating and educational, and an outdoor play area should be provided so that children can have the opportunity to play outside each day.
- Enriched curriculum. Choose a center where the children are engaged and educated, rather than simply entertained. Children learn best through play and hands-on manipulation of learning materials. A center with a curriculum that encourages the development of a child’s cognitive, social, and physical capacities will help children develop a lifelong love of learning.
When you’re making a decision about childcare, we invite you to tour the Shipra Campus of MSOD. Founded by Montessori School of Downtown, the Shipra Campus is much more than the average daycare center. Rather, it’s Pearland’s premier educational childcare facility with programs for children age six weeks through elementary. The brainchild of decades of curricula development, technology integrated education, and traditional Montessori concepts that are proven to work, Shipra is educating the community leaders of tomorrow using holistic development, global awareness, and individualized education. To learn more about Shipra or Montessori School of Downtown, visit our website today.