If you are a working parent, then you want to know how to choose a daycare center that you can trust. Choosing a daycare is a huge responsibility and one that we, at the Brightside Academy, take very seriously. You are trusting your most prized possession with strangers that you believe qualified to keep them safe while you are gone. If you are wondering where to start or how to choose a daycare center
1. Trained Staff
Before visiting a daycare center visit their website and look for the director’s bio. Look for any education in childhood education and academic administration. If you don’t see that information on the website schedule an appointment to discuss this with them and look for framed certificates.
Lead teachers should have sufficient knowledge for the age group that they are working with. Although lead teachers in daycare centers may not have a degree in education they should hold a certification in early childhood education. A good center will offer their employees opportunities for growth.
2. Accreditations and State Licensing
Although accreditations do not equate to quality care a standing daycare center should have accreditations of some type along with a license to run a center. Some accreditations to look for are:
- National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA)
- National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
- National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs (NAC)
Having a national accreditation puts a higher level of accountability on the staff of a daycare center. Safety reviews, staff qualifications, education standards, and more come with a center’s accreditation.
3. Safety Measures In Place
Every daycare center should have a sign-in sheet, book, code, or some form of signing the child in. Make sure that there is an active and comprehensive plan for signing children in and out of the center. Look for fire escape plans and other emergency plans that are important to you.
As much as it pains parents to think about different scenarios that are life-threatening a proactive and vigilant approach is necessary when it comes to your child’s safety.
4. Age Appropriate Activities and Structure
It is very important that there is a posted schedule the children follow daily. It helps the kids know what to expect and creates a sense of safety. These schedules should include age-appropriate activities that align with national standards. A two-year-old should not have to sit for long periods of time due to their attention span.
Visiting the center for a “drop-in” visit will help to determine whether these standards are being followed and to what extent. Make sure to speak with the center about their drop-in policy.
5. Cleanliness and Routine
The state makes visits to ensure the center is following cleanliness standards but it is a good idea to ask and observe the centers policy. Germs spread quickly due to the nature of a daycare center but you want to make sure that toys, furniture, and equipment are being cleaned properly and daily.
Observe the staff for good personal hygiene habits Is the staff wiping babies or toddlers’ mouths after they eat? These are important things to pay attention to and speaks volumes about whether the center takes pride in the job they do.
6. Focus On Literacy
Literacy is huge in early learning and even though they may not know how to read the books themselves they are familiarizing themselves with the world when they open a book. Books allow a pre-schooler to reinforce and look for the alphabet. Picture books allow them to use their imaginations.
Storytime promotes bonding between classmates and their teacher. It allows them to learn new things and expand their vocabulary. Books are a catalyst for amazing questions and curious little minds. If a daycare center does not have a daily designated storytime and a clear focus on literacy I would find another center.
7. Positive Child/Teacher Interactions
When visiting the daycare center pay attention to the way the teachers interact with the children. How do they handle conflict with a child having a bad day? Ask questions about their discipline policy. It is also a good idea to observe how the staff interacts with each other.
If you notice that a lead teacher doesn’t get along with their aid or there is tension that is not addressed it is a bad sign. Healthy work relations among staff in a childcare center is extremely important. Kids pick up on negative and positive adult interactions and the last thing you need is an anxious child due to unresolved adult issues.
8. Clearly Posted Policies
Clearly posted policies and regulations of the center are important and if they are not posted they need to be easily accessible. A daycare center without a vision and clear policies for parents, teachers, and students encourage disorder and a lack of concern on the center’s part.
9. Child to Teacher Ratios
When you find a classroom that has a high child to teacher ratio proceed with caution. This dynamic will prohibit learning and can lead to teacher burn out. Worst-case scenario the children’s needs will not be met as they should.
10. Free Play and Outdoor Time
More and more children are spending an absorbent amount of time on different screens. Children and humans as a whole need to have outdoor time if the weather permits. Is there enough room to play when there are not opportunities to go outside? Free play time promotes curiosity and imaginative play, it sets children up for unguided interactions with their peers and is a necessary part of early learning. Fresh air promotes clearer thinking and better rest for the children at night.
11. Cultural Diversity
Cultural diversity is important for children to understand the world around them. Are the children and staff diverse? Are there dolls with different complexions and books that represent a variety of cultures? If the daycare center does not offer at minimum, books, and toys that represent more than one people you should reconsider.
Contact Us To Enroll Today
The Brightside Academy has a trained and loving staff that takes childcare very seriously. We would love to speak with you about what we offer and how we can help. Call us today to enroll your child.