Choosing the right daycare for your prospective child is one of the most crucial decisions you can make as a parent. It’s much more than just finding a convenient location and affordable price. Studies consistently show that high quality early childhood education sets children up mentally, physically and emotionally for excellent preschool and kindergarten school years.
But how do you know whether a childcare center is the right fit for your child, and whether their educational curriculum is truly helpful to their journey? You might think that the higher a price they charge, the better they must be. But this isn’t always true. Instead, you have to tour the center and look a little bit closer. Here are five key questions that you’ll need to answer when touring, and selecting, a high quality childcare center.
#1: Is the Daycare Accredited, and what are its Safety Standards?
Daycares in Ohio are strictly regulated, and with good reason, as these institutions house our most precious gifts in life. Did you know that you can check the accreditations and license of every registered daycare in Ohio? Simply Follow This Link https://childcaresearch.ohio.gov/ and locate the center you are interested in.
Big Hearts Little Hands is fully licensed and accredited, passing many different independent standards including:
- NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children)
- NECPA (National Early Childhood Program Accreditation)
- NACCP (National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs)
- NAFCC (National Association for Family Child Care)
- COA (Council on Accreditation)
- ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International)
Schedule a Tour with us today and see our center for yourself!
#2: What is the Center’s Philosophy on Child Development?
Understanding how your center approaches the big picture of child development is vital. Look for centers that take a holistic approach. It’s not only about academics, or physical activity, or unscripted play. It’s all interconnected, and a high quality childcare center will offer a balanced blend of all aspects of cognitive, emotional, and social development. Additionally, look for a center that aligns with your own values and beliefs about raising children, so that you can have the best fit for your child.
Big Hearts Little Hands, since 2014, has offered a phenomenal in-house, custom-designed curriculum that is supplemented with rich extracurricular activities. This curriculum is taught by tenured, experienced and credentialed teachers who genuinely love what they do. Schedule a Tour today to see our classrooms!
#3: What’s Going on in the Classroom?
When you tour a center, ask which exact room your child is likely to be placed in, and then look around the room. Do you see toys or activities that would interest your child? How is the behavior of the other kids? Do you see personalities and play styles that would compliment your own child? Also look at the routine; are the children following directions, choosing their own activities, or a mix of both?
Finally, look at the Teacher-To-Child ratio. Count the kids in the classroom, and then count the teachers. If you were to split the children evenly between each teacher, how many children would each teacher have? The lower amount of kids each teacher is responsible for, the better. Because this allows the teacher to give more individualized attention to each child, including your own.
Big Hearts Little Hands is committed to providing a safe, loving, and nurturing environment filled with fun, creative, and educational learning experiences. You can see from our Virtual Tour page that our classrooms tend to be smaller and with a low Teacher-To-Child ratio. Contact Us today to set up a tour!
#4: What are the Daily Activities and Routine?
While a tour is not nearly long enough to observe an entire day for yourself, you can certainly inquire about the center’s daily activities and classroom routine.
All children need an extremely consistent and structured schedule to thrive and flourish. They need to be served a variety of activities, including imaginative playtime, learning sessions, crafts, sensory play, and others. They also need foundational pillars of their day at consistent times; these include meals, rest periods, and outdoor time. This routine not only keeps the children engaged, but also contributes to a well-rounded development.
Almost all daycares of any repute will have this type of schedule. However, the individual details may vary. Do the daycares build electronics time as part of their schedule? Studies show some negative effects of extended electronic and television time on early childhood development. Does the center seem to have a lot of unstructured play where the kids just run around and do whatever? Some is good, but it can be tempting to slip into too much, because other areas of the schedule require more effort and preparation from the teachers.
So it’s certainly worth checking as a parent to see if the center has a printout of their schedule or what their day looks like. Big Hearts Little Hands uses our custom-designed, in-house curriculum to formulate the perfect mixture for little minds to flourish. Contact Us today for more details!
#5: How Does the Center Communicate with Parents?
Effective and transparent communication between daycares and you the parent, is absolutely essential. Most daycares of repute these days will offer electronic communication, where both daycare and parent has the same app, and you’ll get pictures and updates on your child’s day. Often these will occur several times a day. “Here’s a picture of your child’s lunch!” “Here is the drawing your child created during our afternoon craft time!” Etc. Technology like this is the next best thing to you actually being in the classroom observing your child directly. It does tremendous good for your parental peace of mind, and allows you to have directed conversations with your child about their day! Definitely make sure your prospective daycare has a clear and open line of communication well established before considering enrollment.
Big Hearts Little Hands is one of the centers that does use electronic communication. We are always responsive to questions and love to keep you updated. Schedule a Tour today!
Selecting the right childcare center is a huge decision, but it doesn’t have to be an intimidating one. We hope these 5 questions will help illuminate your path forward, and allow you to make the most informed choice on a center that ensures your child will thrive. Remember, the best childcare center is one that aligns with your family’s values, and your child’s needs.