The Right Child Care
Child care and initial learning programs are essential for a child to grow and learn in a healthy and safe atmosphere as well as to interact with other children. Selecting the right child care program or facility is one of the key decisions for parents to make. Best child care and learning programs not only play an important role in the child’s early years development but also enable working parents to go to work with peace of mind.
There is so much information on child care and early education programs available that may help you learn more but also confuse you. Most child care accept children from the age of 6 months to 6 years while a few even also accept new borns. While looking for the right programs for your child, you should always check for a questions such as:
- What childcare options are available for you?
- Whether the short listed program is registered, approved and licensed ?
- How many children are already enrolled ?
- Is it crowded or your child can get more personal and prioritized attention ?
- What is the quality of age-appropriate nurseries for babies and activity playrooms for older children ?
- How qualified is the management, the staff and what is their level of skills and experience ?
- Are all key members CPR Certified and Staff members background checked ?
- Is it open on Saturdays and Sundays ?
- Are hourly, half-day, full day and evening options available ?
Before enrolling and handing your little ones, cross check and examine the good standing of Child Care, standards for health, safety, nutrition, programming, staffing and physical premises standards as set by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services under the Day Nurseries Act. This is important because the authorities keep inspecting a Child Care for:
- annual licensing
- annual playground and safety standards
- best practices of programming standards
- regular fire drills usually on monthly basis
- monthly health standards
- fire fighting and safety measures
- requirements for staff training
- quality and standards of equipment and requirement
Some useful resources you may want to browse are :
Child Care Family Resources:
- Action for Children
- Chicago Parent
- Child and Family Connections (CFC)
- Illinois Childcare Assistance Program
- Illinois Voice for Children
- Peer Services
- Reading Rockets
- Social Endeavors
- Strengthening Families Illinois
- We Give Books
- Zero to Three
Early Childhood Resources:
- American Montessori Society
- Chicago Metro AEYC
- Illinois AEYC
- NAEYC (National Association for Education of Young Children)
- National Association of Family Childcare Providers
The Quality Child Care
Usually a quality child care center works for the development of child’s emotional, social intellectual and physical well-being. In this regard, the available and provided facilities and general environment plays an important role. A quality child care comprises of:
- healthy, clean, safe and secure environment
- sufficient space for quiet and active times
- indoor and outdoor games and activities
- flexible and routine activities
- availability of age-appropriate toys, games and equipment
- quality of meals and nutritious
- ways of parents / staff interactions
- children preparation for school
- working conditions for staff
Trained and experienced staff help children to deal with situations that will stimulate and develop:
- sense of independence, motivation to take initiative
- develop curiosity to know and learn about new things
- develop decision making capabilities and self-esteem
- fitness and growth through specially designed physical activities
- strong arms, legs and joints