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. We may have spoken to the Director, given a tour of the center, or met the teacher and see a portion of an activity that was happening at the time of the tour.
So, what should we look for beyond our discussion with the Director? After all, we 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 you may think the center is “cute.” There are lots of toys and tiny little tables and chairs! The kids are playing and freely moving around the room. To top it off the adults seemed nice when you set up a time for the tour! This is it, right!? Wait!!! A daycare that looks cute is just a very small part of a much bigger picture.
What about the teachers and aides? What is their training? Their experience? 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? Does the room look safe and clean? Are teachers able to see all the kids all the time? What kind of schedule do they follow? Do they have consistent routines every day? 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 there areas for circle time, snacks/lunch, books/quiet time, etc.? What are transitions like? Is there singing? Do they complete a daily note that tells about how your child ate, slept, and worked on activities throughout the day?
It's a lot 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 quality daycare center, 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.