Welcome to the Take Over Tuesday guest post series. I will be featuring posts by fellow bloggers and outdoors enthusiasts. Do you have some expertise or a great story to share? Consider submitting something to the Humans of the Outdoors series or contacting me directly.
Today’s feature is from Alex of Safety Today. Alex is a stay-at-home father of three lively boys. Home safety is a number one priority when you are around this much energy and curiosity!
4 Signs You’ve Found a Good Childcare Program
How can you tell if you’ve found a good childcare program?
Every parent worries that they may be sending their child somewhere that is unsafe, unclean, or unwilling to meet their basic needs. Some daycares and camps are better than others – that’s just a fact, but it’s important to know how to spot a good one. Here are some signs that you’ve found a solid option when it comes to care for your child.
1. It is well-staffed with low ratio and turnover.
For a telltale sign of the competency of a daycare center or camp, look no further than its staff.
Is the staff qualified? How much experience does each member have? Did they pass a rigorous background check prior to being hired?
Beyond that, it’s important to look at the ratio of children to staff as well as the turnover rate. You always want both of those things to be low.
“The ratio of caregivers to children is extremely important, as it determines the amount of care and attention available for the children. Generally, three or four infants per adult and seven to 10 older children per adult allows them to spend sufficient time with each child,” says Reference.com. “Limited staff turnover is also important for a good daycare. If caregivers are leaving after working for less than a year, it is a signal that working conditions may not be up to par. The instability of a changing staff is also problematic for children who should be able to form bonds with the adults.”
2. Your presence is welcomed.
If you ever feel like the staff at a daycare center or camp would rather you leave, be wary. A good childcare center or camp values communication with parents, and doesn’t mind if they want to visit to see the care in action.
If the childcare program has an open-door policy, where parents are free to stop by whenever they want, you just may have found a great program. This means the program organizers have nothing to hide and are not just putting on a show when parents are present.
3. It is immaculately clean.
When touring a potential daycare center or camp, you must remember that’s the cleanest the center will likely ever be. If the staff at a daycare program or camp know potential customers are coming, they are going to do everything they can to make the place look spotless. If the daycare or camp is a bit on the messy side when you’re there, just imagine how it looks when you’re not around. Check for overall cleanliness – surfaces, bathrooms, toys. Don’t be afraid to ask about cleaning procedures. Ask about the cleaning schedule, what chemicals are used, and how they handle children who become sick.
4. They care about education.
If you’re spending money to put your child in a daycare program or camp, you want to make sure your child is doing more than napping, watching programs on tablets, and eating cookies. A good childcare center doesn’t just “store” your child until you pick them up at the end of the day. They make the best use of that time by installing a curriculum.
“Daycare employees are more than just babysitters,” says Mom365. “A good childcare center will have educational programs tailored to your child’s age, complete with socialization tactics, reading, crafting activities, counting exercises, cognitive skills, and physical fitness. While there is no set of nationwide educational standards for childcare centers, following these tenets is usually a good sign you are heading in the right direction.”
If the daycare center or camp is forthcoming about their daily schedule, this is also a good sign. If, however, they only offer generic answers about how they teach the children, you might want to look elsewhere. Here is a handy checklist to review when choosing the right daycare center for your child.
At the end of the day, finding the proper care for your child will give you peace of mind when you have to leave them in the care of another. Whether it’s camp or daycare, you want assurance that your child is having all of their (age-appropriate) physical, emotional, and educational needs met.
With a little research and persistence, you can find the best option for your kid and rest easy knowing they are in good hands.