Selecting an appropriate childcare center or childcare professional can be a long and daunting task, but is important. Early learning and development in children helps them later in nursery and in school. Children often grow out of their childcare centers and require more complex stimulus or simply better care, leading to stagnation of the child’s development. Regular childcare evaluation is a must-do for parents and guardians to understand whether the choice is still benefiting the child and the family.
Some areas to consider when evaluating childcare:
1. Childcare evaluation: Your child’s safety
Basic safety precautions are not always enough when it comes to small children, especially when it comes to more than a few together in one place. Ask your center for an explanation of the security protocol, fire safety measures, and other health and protection measures around the house. During childcare evaluation, it is particularly important for you to know about the policies of the center for children being dropped and picked up. It is a good idea to take a look around the center and meet some of the other day care professionals there.
2. Childcare evaluation: The center and the professionals
When evaluating childcare, take some time to check the certification and registration status of the center and its employees. Understanding the requirements in your area for applying and receiving these credentials is important as it helps you judge how appropriate your childcare center is. It also means that aspects like health and fire safety measures are taken care of, as well as other major issues. Childcare professionals should have first-aid knowledge and should be able to reach doctors or clinics in case of emergency.
3. Childcare evaluation: The childcare professional
When you talk to your childcare professional, open and honest communication is important. Children are hugely influenced by the type of person your childcare worker is, and the atmosphere of the center. The style of care and discipline, the methods of teaching, the kind of interaction – when evaluating childcare, consider whether these are the kind of handling your child is benefiting from. Other factors that you may want to consider when evaluating childcare: religion (basic principles of a specific religion or none at all), cleanliness (the same habits your child learns at home) and topics of learning (too many new concepts or not enough).
4. Childcare evaluation: Your child
The most important question, naturally, is whether your child is happy. A complete childcare evaluation depends largely on this. A safe environment and an adequate number of adults to supervise is not enough if your child is unhappy at the center. If your child looks forward to going to day care most of the time and has friends there, it shows that your childcare professional is working to make sure all children participate in activities and have a genuine sense of belonging.
Also, during childcare evaluate, judge whether your child’s development is being encouraged and stimulated at the center. Parents have different requirements from their daycare: some prefer it to teach basics like alphabet songs or nursery rhymes for vocabulary development and so that learning at school is easier, while some parents choose not to overburden the child’s young mind with anything apart from healthy social interaction, constructive play and personal behavior and habits
5. Childcare evaluation: You and your childcare center
Your childcare center should make your life easier and better, and if it is not allowing you the space and flexibility you need, you should consider other options. Communication with childcare professionals is important, and a good rapport between you and your daycare center will help you understand your role in making the situation smooth and seamless for your child, for your childcare workers, and for you. Any misalignment of motives or preferences should be considered while evaluating childcare and deciding whether it is still a viable option for you.
1. Evaluating childcare. Child Care Aware
2. Childcare evaluation. North Carolina Dept. of Health & Human Services