How To Choose A Daycare: A Handy Guide
If you’re a working parent (and who isn’t these days?), choosing the right daycare is one of the most crucial decisions you’ll make for your child’s well-being. Research indicates 90% of brain development occurs before a child turns 5. During this period, the brain forms essential connections, setting the foundation for a child’s future capabilities as an adult. These connections are vital in developing higher-level abilities such as self-regulation, motivation, problem-solving, and more. These neural pathways are nurtured through everyday experiences that are both caring and stimulating. That’s why daycare must be a space that ensures a child’s physical safety and promotes mental and emotional agility.
Here’s a handy checklist of things to consider when choosing the right daycare:
First and foremost, a daycare or play school isn’t just any other business. It’s a calling with a significant role in a child’s overall development. Therefore, it’s imperative to ascertain the team’s credentials behind the venture. A professional team with a deep understanding of the importance of early childhood education and the means to deliver it can substantially impact a child’s life.
In addition to the philosophy of the founding team, it’s crucial to determine the level of training the staff has received and how long they have been working on the set-up.
A daycare must provide a physically safe environment for your child. Therefore, paying close attention to factors such as drop-off and pickup procedures is crucial. The availability of live CCTV streaming is an essential requirement you can’t overlook. Not only does it ensure your child’s safety, but it also offers you complete peace of mind. Additionally, you should assess whether the space is childproof. From the types of toys used to the classroom flooring, you need to ensure that every precaution has been taken to prevent accidents.
3. Adult: Child Ratio
Another aspect that needs careful attention is the adult-to-child ratio since it significantly impacts child safety, besides ensuring that the child gets suitable attention. Not only does a healthy adult-child balance reduce accidents, but it is also known to impact behavioral issues positively.
As a working parent, verifying the daycare’s operating hours and holiday schedule is essential to ensure they align with your work timings. You can’t afford a situation where you’re stuck in a meeting, and the daycare is closing for the day. Checking their calendar in advance is crucial. Additionally, understanding how they handle unexpected situations is important. You should know that if you’re stuck in a meeting or caught in traffic, your child’s safety is not a cause for undue concern.
5. Healthy Meals
The daycare should provide nutritious meals that support the child’s growth and development. It’s essential to ensure that the daycare meets the child’s dietary requirements, considering that the child’s relationship with food forms at an early age. Therefore, it’s important to confirm that the menu doesn’t include junk food. If the child has allergies or specific dietary needs, check if the daycare can accommodate them. Additionally, it’s beneficial to inquire whether the daycare has a trained nutritionist who can create a healthy menu for the children. Healthy eating habits, such as reducing food wastage, are also established early in life, and daycare can be an ideal starting point for instilling these habits.
A daycare should not merely function as a waiting area for a child until their parents return. Given that a child dedicates a substantial portion of their time to the facility, the daycare must offer age-appropriate activities that foster the child’s holistic development. Depending on the child’s age and inclinations, diverse activities may be offered, encompassing dance, artistic pursuits, sports, and more. In the case of older children, it is advisable to inquire about the availability of academic support, particularly in the context of homework assistance.
7. Nap Time
Nap time is crucial for early brain development. It is, therefore, essential to pay attention to what naptime is like. Questions such as whether the kids are allowed to sleep when they are tired or if there are specified nap times are key.
8. Outside Time
Spending some time outdoors is known to improve creativity and learning outcomes. Even though children may not be able to spend too much time amidst nature in big cities, it will help to see if the daycare has an outdoor play area and whether outdoor time is a part of the child’s schedule.
9. Illness and contingencies
It is crucial to review the daycare’s illness policy and the procedures they follow if a child becomes unwell. Additionally, it’s important to inquire whether the staff can administer medication if your child requires it.
To Sum Up
It’s essential not only to consider the aspects but also to physically visit the location to gain a better understanding of the setup. If the daycare is conveniently located near your home or workplace, it’s especially beneficial, as young children may not thrive during long commutes. Connecting with other parents is also valuable to gain insights from their experiences. Overall, ensuring that the daycare provides a safe environment and offers joyful experiences is vital.
At Footprints, our daycare program is designed to engage children in meaningful and joyful learning experiences. A structured daily routine provides children a framework for making choices and developing their abilities. Some of the key elements in a child’s daily routine at Footprints daycare include:
- Choice time, fostering decision-making skills.
- Small group time, creating a safe space for communication and emotional expression.
- Large group time, promoting socialization skills.
- Outdoor time, allowing children to explore beyond classroom walls.
- Transition times, helping children follow the daily routine.
- Meal and rest times, among others.
Here’s to providing every child with a nurturing environment contributing to their growth!