STEPS TO SELECTING A QUALITY CHILD CARE CENTER FOR YOUR CHILD

    

Steps to Selecting a Quality Child Care Center for your Child was created for parents, guardians, foster parents or any other adult raising a child. The goal of this website is to give you the information needed to find and select the BEST child care option for your child. How do you find the best daycare? What qualities should you look for in your search? Is small group care better than large group care?

Finding quality child care is one of the most important and most difficult decisions which you will have to make as a parent or guardian. It will take effort and persistence to find the right child care match for your child, but it is well worth the time taken. Your child will be with the caregivers between 7 and 10 hours each day, and therefore itís very important that you do your homework to ensure your childís happiness and your peace of mind.

So you need to find child care for your child(ren). Where do you begin?

  1. CRITERIA

What is your childís personality? What qualities are important to you in a child care center? Would your child thrive in a large group center or a small family center? These are some of the initial criteria you must decide on before proceeding. 

  1. FINDING CENTERS

Ask friends, family and co-workers for recommendations. Search the Internet for reputable child care directories. The goal is to have as many options as possible. Once you have gathered a list of centers, narrow your list to about 10 centers that meet your initial criteria (close to work / home, appropriate age range, etc.)

  1. TELEPHONE INTERVIEW

The goal of the telephone interview is to narrow your search to those child care centers that meet further criteria. This will save you time and energy. Try to avoid calling centers during busy times, such as arrival, departure and meal times. When calling ask to speak to the director, owner or manager. Introduce yourself, let them know that you are looking for quality child care for your child and make sure to ask if they have a few minutes to answer some of your initial questions. If so, use the printable Telephone Interview sheet as a guideline. If they are not able to speak with you at that moment, be sure to reschedule a telephone interview at a time which is more convenient. Please remember that in no way is this a reflection of the manager, nor a reflection on the daycare. It may be a good sign that they are prioritizing the children in their care instead of talking on the telephone. Use this printable sheet to make notes during the telephone interview.

  1. SCHEDULE A VISIT

Based upon the responses of the contact person at the center and their answers to your questions, shorten the list of centers to only the ones that meet your criteria thus far. Phone those centers to set up a time for a visit. You should plan on being there 1 to 1 Ĺ hours and preferably during at least one transition time (circle time to snack time or lunch time to outside time). Many centers prefer that you schedule a time to visit as it can be disruptive to the center, staff and children for prospective parents to arrive unannounced. Print out the Child Care Center Checklist, attach to a clipboard and bring it to the visit with you. Most center staff will be thrilled to see a parent taking an active role in finding quality care for their child. During the visit, try to blend into the background so as to not disrupt the happenings at the center and allow staff and children to interact normally. Perhaps you can stand against a wall or pull up a chair in a quiet area so that you are still able to view and listen to interactions without being a distraction. Feel free to move locations when the children do (from quiet area to lunch area). Do not interrupt the staff during your visit- you are there as a guest and an observer. If you have unanswered questions at the end of your visit, the manager may have a few minutes to sit with you and answer them. If they do not have time at that moment, ask if you could call them later just to go over a few more questions you have. Again, remember that their main priority is to care for the children. Ask them to provide you with 3-5 parent names and phone numbers as references, and donít be shy about checking them. Most parents are happy to share their experiences with other parents and it can be a great resource for you. You may want to ask them for a registration form before you leave, in the event that you decide that this center is the one which you will be entrusting with your child. Quietly excuse yourself and thank them for allowing you to view their center.

  1. MAKE A DECISION
Please remember the importance and impact of this decision in your childís life. Based on your criteria, your child, your telephone interview and your visit, you will need to make a decision on which is the best center for you child to be part of. Good luck!

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