How do I Choose the Best Child Day Care Classes?

Choosing child day care classes may seem like a daunting task, but with a little research parents can find the setting that offers the most benefits to their children. The most important task in making a decision is to visit the organizations that are being considered. This is usually the best way to assess the physical atmosphere, as well an opportunity to observe staff interactions with children.

Child day care classes are offered in a variety of settings. After identifying sites that are conveniently located, find out if they are accepting new children into the program. Set up a time to visit, when classes are in session, so that you may observe the staff members as they go about a typical day.

In choosing child day care classes, a number of questions should be asked. Determine how many children each staff member is responsible for. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that there should be one staff member per every three to five young children. This ensures that each child receives adequate supervision.

Tour the facility with safety in mind. Look for electrical outlet covers, safe playground equipment, and smoke alarms. Ensure that fire drills are regularly scheduled and that staff members are certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid.

Ask about the child day care classes and curriculum development. Staff should be able to provide a copy of the curriculum with clear goals and skills defined. Pre-reading, math, science, and social studies should be integrated into provided content.

While child day care classes may focus on educational goals, ensure that free play is also integrated into a typical daily schedule. Free play is very important in a child’s development. Dramatic play encourages children to cooperate and use imagination. Manipulatives, such as Lego® blocks or peg boards, help in development of fine motor skills. Puzzles encourage abstract thinking.

Another important factor to consider when visiting child day care classes is the availability of nursing or health care on site. This includes personnel that are trained in dealing with sick children, as well as addressing the prevention or spread of viruses and illnesses. Investigate the attendance policy and rules regarding when a sick child should be kept home.

When touring the prospective facility, also watch for warning signs. For instance, if the staff is not welcoming to parents or fails to answer questions, this may not be the best establishment. Requests for policies and curriculum should be readily met. There should be no hesitation in providing this information to parents.



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