How do you know what makes a good daycare?
We don’t have the luxury of conducting a full evaluation when looking for a center for our precious little one. At most, we are given a tour of the center or we may even be so lucky as to meet the teacher or see a portion of an activity that may be happening at the time of the tour.
So, what should we look for? Afterall, we all want the very best care for our little person. This can be so overwhelming! It’s so easy to get caught up “in the moment.” You’re going on the tour and the center is “pretty.” It’s spacious! There are lots of toys and the tiny little tables and chairs are so cute! There are lots of big windows allowing a lot of light to come in the room. The kids are playing and freely moving around the room. To top it off the adults seemed so nice when you set up a time for the tour! This is it, right!? Wait!!! A daycare that looks nice is just a very small part of a big picture.
What about the teachers and aides? What is their training? Their experience? How are they dressed? (Let’s face it, some of the clothing is just not appropriate.) What is the ratio between teachers and children? Is there high turnover in staff? Do they seem happy and appear to like their job? Is there a curriculum? Is that “spacious room” safe and clean? Or is it so spacious that the teachers are not able to see all the kids all the time? What kind of schedule do they follow? Do they have consistent routines? What are transitions like? Is there singing? Are the interactions between the teachers and children positive? Are the teachers sitting with the kids (at the table or on the floor)? Do you hear yelling as you walk through the center? Do the children seem happy and engaged or bored, crying and unguided? Are the walls full of seasonal art? That a child made, not a teacher? Are there areas for circle time, snack, books/quiet time, etc.? Do they complete a daily note that tells about how your child ate, slept and worked on activities throughout the day?
Something to think about. Beyond the tour, parents usually have minimal time in the center. They drop off and pick up, but they don’t see much beyond that. Just don't judge a book by its cover.
If you have questions or would like to talk about what to look for in a daycare, let us know. We will help however we can. Also, you can rest assured that our Speech therapists, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Special Instructors are more than happy to work alongside your daycare teacher in order to optimize the benefits of Early Intervention.