Posted February 13, 2012on:
Traditionally in most childcare centers and schools, registration for the next year of programming, new school entrance or continued enrollment procedures start in late winter – early spring. That’s now.
There are a number of indicators of high quality childcare that can guide families in their search for a program that is the best for their child. These indicators are also good benchmarks to validate the choice that families have made to continue their enrollment in their child’s daycare.
Accreditation by naeyc (national association for the education of young children). This is the “gold standard” for early childhood care and education. Naeyc accreditation assures families of programs for children that are thoughtfully planned, interesting, organized and fun in a safe and nurturing learning environment. Accreditation guides professional qualifications and leadership. www.naeyc.com
Licensing through New York State. These regulations mandate systems for safety, health, nutrition, program and leadership.
Play as a priority. Young children grow and thrive in a setting that offers playful experiences. Play areas in classrooms and outside play grounds are critical to quality. Toys are safe and in good condition. Children and adults smile. There is a joyful “feel” to the center.
Child centered philosophy. Look for evidence that each child is respected and celebrated as a unique individual. Activities and lessons are developmentally appropriate with a balance of structure and free choices. Each classroom has equipment, materials and supplies that match the age & stage of children.
Quality staff. Classroom teams are structured with a lead teacher and assistants. The lead teacher has a formal background in education (early childhood). Both teachers and assistants participate in training specific to early childhood topics. Assistants are experienced in working with children and/or are education students. Would you ever take your child to a doctor who didn’t go to medical school?
A beautiful, warm and welcoming center that is safe and secure. Pay attention to everything. Is there natural lighting through windows? Is everything clean, organized and in good repair? A security system and organizational procedures that insure each child’s safety and well-being? Formal policies, procedures, a parent handbook and family friendly registration? Do you feel welcome?
Parent Partnership opportunities both center wide and in individual classrooms. “Open Door” policy.
Evidence of solid leadership; professional practices, community involvement, high management.
A focus on health & wellness; nutritious meals and snacks, food allergy procedure, illness policy, health professional on team and staff trained in emergency and illness related procedures.
Take a tour of anywhere you are interested. Ask questions. Have a conversation.
Take your time and be comfortable and positive about your child’s home away from home!