Choosing the Right Daycare Center
Looking for a daycare center that you can trust? Whether looking for a pre-school, nursery or daycare, every parent is probably a bit nervous about finding appropriate childcare.
Though most childcare centers will have your child’s best interest in mind, it is still important to do your research ahead of time as the best centers can fill up years in advance.
Here are a few things to keep an eye on as you do your research.
Logistics & General Comfort
When you’re looking for the best childcare, there’s more than meets the eye. The level of care and expertise can vary greatly, with some centers that merely watch your child for the day to those that provide an engaging, educational environment.
Sometimes there are smaller, less obvious details such as how convenient it is for you to get to and from the facility.
A few questions to consider include:
● How close is the child care center to your home or work?
● Is it on a route that has excessive traffic?
● What food and beverage does the center provide for your child?
● What are the days and hours available, including holidays?
● Are there extra childcare services offered in case you are late from work or have an emergency?
● Can they guarantee that they will have space for your child through a given time period?
● Is there a reliable communication platform to keep you up-to-date on your child’s daily activities and behavior?
● Do they meet the State’s educational standards (such as QualitystarsNY)?
Safety & Licensing
Of course, safety will be one of the most important factors to consider for most parents, as it should be. A childcare provider should have their licensing and training qualifications clearly displayed and ready to show anyone who asks; and the records should be up-to-date.
You can access health and safety reports via Child Care Aware and by state here to see how long ago state agents reviewed them and whether there were any violations. You can also look at the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Ratings to make sure they meet certain standards.
There are national accreditation standards as well – ask about them ahead of time so that you can research the accreditation types and boards prior to visiting.
Take a Tour
Visiting a daycare facility is essential to determining whether it will be a good fit for you and your child. Like other major decisions, such as choosing a new home, there are advantages to experiencing the look and feel of the facility and the staff to which you will trust the well-being of your child.
When planning a visit, it’s critical to make sure you have the right questions prepared, and to look for the right things while you’re there. Prepare a list of questions before you visit and be sure to ask in detail about the training and qualifications of staff. Ask them for references, and don’t hesitate to speak with other families if you were not already referred.
As you tour the facility, get a good sense of the overall feeling of the place. Do you see staff interacting with children warmly and respectfully? Are the children happy and engaged? Do you sense anything that could indicate the environment does not meet safety requirements?
Ask about meals and daily schedule while you are at the center. If your child has any allergies, whether to foods or other substances, be sure to discuss them as well.
Lastly, the childcare center in question should be extremely welcoming and accommodating to new parents who are in the research phase.
Want to schedule a tour with us? We’d be happy to show you around! Just give us a call to set up a tour of one of our three facilities in Greece, Henrietta, and Farmington.