What To Look For When Selecting Child Care
Brain development research shows that quality care, educational experiences and enriched play have a positive impact on children's development. Studies prove that the early introduction of these influences on children will enable them to develop social and learning skills that will benefit them in their adult years.
Some indicators of quality care are:
It is important to carefully select the right child care arrangement that will work for you. Although a child care provider may be licensed and/or a member of your local Child Care Resource and Referral Program (PacificCARE), you as a parent must make the final decision as to whether a child care arrangement is a good one. Meeting minimum standards does not guarantee high quality and there is a wide range of caregivers to choose from. Follow up on leads from other parents, check references and trust your instincts. Review brochures and booklets on selecting child care made available through the Government of British Columbia and our PacificCARE office.
After you receive a list of names from PacificCARE, you can do some of your selection process over the phone. Think about what your needs are: what hours do you require? What location works best for you? What fees can you afford? Are you eligible for a government subsidy? Will a group care setting or a family home setting best suit your needs? What qualifications do you want your provider to have? What is your parenting philosophy? What type of care and activities you would like for your child?
Some initial questions during the phone interview include:
Make sure to visit more than one facility to get a better sense of your options. Never hesitate to ask questions and ask to see the most recent licensing inspection report. Things to look for in a potential caregiver during the initial visits are:
Searching for child care can be a labor intensive process, but it is definitely time well spent. Children and parents who are satisfied with their child care arrangements are less likely to feel stress in other parts of their lives. Children can build strong relationships with their caregivers, and develop and grow in a safe and loving environment with their peers. Parents can relax knowing their child is well cared for in a safe, nurturing, educational environment.
Clear, regular communication is essential and you will have an opportunity for this each time you drop off or pick up your child. Let your caregiver know if there is something going on in your child's life that may be affecting behavior. If there are changes in your routine, such as someone different coming to pick up the child or a change in your location for the day, make sure you let your caregiver know.
Be aware of the program policies, and honor them. Respect the drop-off and pick-up times, call if you are going to be late for any reason and follow health guidelines for admitting sick children. When you pick up your child, ask your caregiver how the day went. Leave the more in-depth questions or issues you have to discuss for another time, perhaps over the phone or at an arranged time. It is important to monitor your child's care on an ongoing basis to ensure the placement is a good situation for both your child and your family.
Let your caregiver know when they are doing a good job, or when they make a special effort for your child and/or family.