Searching for quality local child care can provide a variety of child care providers to choose from. It can be difficult to narrow down the choices if you do not know what to look for. Use the following core components of child care to help you make your decision for finding quality child care near you.
Staff Training & Education
Caregivers who are trained in Child Development or Early Childhood Education and/or who have experience with children generally do a better job than those who do not. Whether care is being provided by a regulated child care center or a regulated family child care provider out of their home, all staff members should have a minimum level of training and regulation. YoungStar quality child care ratings give parents an easy way to weigh their options. Ratings are based on the provider’s education and training; the learning environment and curriculum; the program’s professional and business practices and the children’s health and well-being.
The safety of the child is a prime concern of both parents and providers. Equipment, both indoors and outdoors, should be safe and suitable to children’s ages. Hazardous items should be stored away from children. The layout of space affects children’s behavior. Physical space should be organized so children know where things are and how they can be found. Large individual spaces can lead to loud and aggressive behavior, so space should be divided into areas where children can work and play together. Children need small, quiet places in the environment when they need to have some time to themselves. All children need a variety of toys and educational materials that are age appropriate.
Remember to consider whether the child/teacher ratio is appropriate for your child. Generally, the less children in a group, the more attention a caregiver will be able to provide. When talking to providers, make sure to ask them whether they are compliant with Wisconsin's requirements for child/teacher ratios.
The best child care programs welcome a fair amount of parental involvement and feedback. Family child care providers and child care centers who involve parents in decision making and goal setting for their child make sure that the child has consistent objectives and expectations at home and with their caregivers. The more two-way communication that providers emphasize, the more comfortable you will feel with their care. If you have any questions about looking for child care in your area, you can contact us using this form or email us at referral@4-C.org or call us at 1-800-750-KIDS.
Choosing a good child care arrangement is an important decision that can improve the daily lives of children and parents. Parents should always check with the regulating agency to see if there have been any complaints or concerns against the child care program.