Steps people should take when selecting a child care center
By Patti Kielpinski, MATC Early Childhood Education instructor
#1 The TEACHERS
This is probably the most important factor for quality care. Find out how long the teachers have been at the center and their education in early childhood education. Research has proven that the correlation between education and high quality care is great. So a teacher who has been at the center for a long time and has a solid education in Early Childhood is a real plus for you and your child.
#2 The ROOM your child will be in at the center
Pay attention to the room your child will be in for his/her care. The room where you child will spend most of his/her time must be child friendly and age appropriate. Does the room have the right amount of age appropriate toys that are organized and available for the child to select. Too many toys or options is over whelming and too little is frustrating for young children. Check NAEYC.org for guidelines relating to age appropriateness curriculum and toys.
#3 The center MUST be family friendly and state licensed.
Ideally the center should be accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and have four or more stars from the Wisconsin YoungStar rating system. Young Star is a program in the Department of Children and Families created to improve the quality of child care for Wisconsin children. YounStar evaluates the quality of care given by regulated child care providers and rates them from 1 to 5 stars, with 5 stars being the highest rating. The YoungStar rating system is based on:
Education qualifications and training of the provider
Learning environment and curriculum
Professional and business practices of the center
Child health and well-being practices used at the center
Two very good internet resources are:
The Wisconsin Child Care Information Center – http://www.dpi.wi.gov/ccic/index.html The Wisconsin Early Childhood Association http://www.wecanaeyc.org/
Remember, when you do find the center that you think will fit the needs of your family VISIT the center often! Visit announced and unannounced. If something doesn’t seem right during your visit, follow your instinct. A parent’s instinct trumps any rating system or research. Remember having quality child care can make a positive difference in the development of your child and can add peace of mind to your family life. Visiting often while keeping these three tips in mind will help you and your child discover a great child care center.
The MATC Source Corner provides expert commentary from members of the MATC community on current events and timely topics. Have a suggestion for The Corner?
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