Finding child care providers is an exciting process. You’re on the search for your child’s new home where they’ll grow physically, cognitively, socially, and emotionally. But, this process can be daunting as well. They come in all shapes, sizes, and prices. There are so many options to choose from… but some have waitlists that span multiple years? The pursuit of quality care can all be a lot.
The process of finding a nurturing environment for your child doesn’t have to be intimidating, however, with the right approach. From us here at Kids’ Care Club, we recommend the systematic approach of these three tips to make the process as straightforward as possible.
1. Make a List!
There are so many types of child care providers out there. Private and public child care facilities, family child care homes, preschool co-ops, non-profit preschools – the list goes on. Consider all of the options and decide which type of child care is right for you and your family based on its proximity, schedule alignment, and budget.
Find child care in your area and create a list of child care providers for you based on your child care needs. Searching on google maps is a great first step, but taking the extra step and contacting your local child care and resource referral agency can help in finding child care providers that fit your family’s needs.
Child Care and resource referral agencies serve as a resource to the different types of child care providers in your area. They will ask questions about you, and your child, and create a list of childcare providers for you to contact based on your childcare needs.
Check out what are the child care licensing requirements in the state? How can I find a copy of the health and safety inspection reports? What does it mean when a provider is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)? Which providers in my area meet this standard? What should I look for in a tour or when trying out different care facilities? How can I find out if my family might qualify for any child care financial assistance programs?
2. Do Your Research
You’ve come up with a solid list of child care providers that can serve you and your family. Time to do some research and refine your options. Prior to scheduling a tour, we suggest you explore the following areas through their website and/or your state’s child care licensing agencies. Jot down any questions that may arise during your research process to ask during your upcoming tour.
Above all else, the child care provider must meet your family’s needs. Explore their mission and philosophy, what ages the program serves, their events, and their commitment to health and safety. You likely have questions about these different elements of the program – jot them down!
Licensing Report and Health and Safety Inspections
Licensing history, last visit by a state licensing agency, and what type of health and safety violations the program has been cited for are all public information. Explore more through your state’s child care inspections.
Being accredited by a national accrediting body demonstrates that the child care center has gone above and beyond state licensing requirements. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is the largest nonprofit organization that represents early childhood educators, representing early childhood educators, families of young children, policymakers, and advocates in the United States. All NAEYC-accredited child care facilities share the belief that your children’s high-quality experiences at home, in child care, and at school are fundamental for school readiness, academic success, and future adult achievement.
Pursuing state-subsidized care? Learn more about the program of interest and if they are meeting quality standards by exploring their Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) rating. Programs earn higher ratings as they meet more quality standards. QRIS is mandatory for licensed child care providers or for programs that receive state subsidies.
While you shouldn’t inform your decision solely based on the experience of others, it can be helpful to see what other parents in the community are saying about a center’s services. Any red flags can be directly addressed when you tour the prospective center.
3. Schedule a Tour
You’ve done your research, now it’s time to schedule a tour! Depending on your city, some child care facilities may have virtual tours due to COVID-19 restrictions. Regardless, contact the center to schedule a tour. By now you should have a few of your own questions, but we also suggest asking these.
- Are you licensed?
- Are you accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)?
- What is your teacher-to-child ratio?
- How do you handle discipline?
- What is the teacher turnover rate?
- What is your school’s philosophy/approach?
- What are the program’s tuition fees?
- How do you manage the safety of the school population?
We’ve designed a parent checklist for you to help in identifying a high-quality preschool. We recommend taking this guide with you when you visit childcare centers so that you can easily compare and make the best decision for yourself and your child.
Here at Kids’ Care Club
Kids’ Care Club is a family-owned, NAEYC-accredited child development center that prides itself on providing a high quality of care to children in a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment. Kids’ Care Club provides an academic curriculum that best aligns with your child’s current stage of development to promote social skills and school readiness across their Infants, Toddlers, Two-Year-Olds, Preschool, and Pre-K classrooms. Kids’ Care Club is proud to be accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), an organization that works to promote high-quality early learning for all young children by setting the highest professional standards across the various developmental domains of your child.
We invite you to contact us to schedule a tour today to learn more about the services we offer.