As a new Mom and Dad it is always going to be difficult to leave your child with someone you do not know. Choosing child care is the most important thing you will do for your child. In choosing child care you want to be sure to choose a place which fits your life, your family, and your belief system. As a 30+ year veteran of early education I know this choice is often undertaken through asking friends and family their opinions. Yet, I know there is so much more.
I have been working on a book for parents for a while now and I have three things I consider most important in the search for quality childcare. They are:
- The knowledge and commitment of the Director in Early Education
- The training of the staff in developmentally appropriate practices, the curriculum, the ages and stages questionnaire and its use in the classroom
- How the center serves both child and parent
While there are many other factors parents will want to look for and check out which I cover in my book. As a professional these are the three things I consider most important to the well-being of children and families.Here is a quick breakdown of each.
- Ask the director about his/her training in ECE. The director is the leader of the center and determines how well the staff knows and understands the unique needs of children under the age of five. I believe the director needs a minimum of an AA in early childhood development. preferably a BA in early childhood education. (Please note there id a difference in development and education. Education includes both development and the best way to educate children this age).
- A-Ask about staff training in Developmentally Appropriate Practice or DAP. DAP is the use of children's age and ability level to ensure the classroom environment, toys, and activities will encourage development and growth and limit frustration and overwhelm. DAP is the foundation of proper early childhood education. A center using worksheets or focusing on elementary skills is not one which is supportive of age appropriate skill for young children. 2B-There are scientifically-based ear;y childhood curriculum each which focuses on differing points of DAP for the classroom. These curricula are specific and have certain mindsets teachers need to develop in order to maintain it correctly. Montessori, Bank Street, Rousseau, and Active Learning are a few names of them. The important thing is that teachers are trained to use the curriculum appropriately. 2C The Ages and Stages Questionnaire is the only tool in Early Childhood which can give a complete picture of where a child is on the developmental scale and can give parents and teachers a slid look at where a child is amd place them into the correct environment.
- Ask about parent involvement in the center. As a parent you are the customer of the services this center is providing. You should be made to feel welcome during the times you can be at the center. Is there a place for you in the center? Is there a parent coaching/support group for issues you come across in your child rearing? Does the director and the teachers seem glad to see you and encourage you to participate by reading a book to the children or sitting down at snack time? This is a place your child will spend a lot of time with and they will develop strong relationships with the people here. Be sure you and your child are welcome and you feel comfortable there. It should feel like a home away from home.
I am planning for my book to be released on Amazon later this year. I will let you know when it is available for pre-order. In the meantime I hope this helps.
Believe in Parenting