If you want your child to have rich educational experiences and fulfilling days in daycare but you aren't sure what to look for when evaluating a program, then these tips will ensure you find just the right place for your little one to thrive.
Tip: Evaluate the Physical Surroundings and Determine if They Promote Early Childhood Learning
When you walk into a daycare, you should see signs of early childhood learning and not just toys and movies used to fill the children's' time. An educational environment will be filled with books, puzzles, and toys designed to promote learning over those designed simply for fun.
In addition to the indoor learning and play areas, it is just as important to check out the environment outdoors. Young children need plenty of opportunities to run and play outdoors to burn off excess energy. Also, children need opportunities to learn about plants, insects, and small animals as well. If a daycare doesn't have any outdoor space or it is lacking, then move on to a different daycare.
Tip: Spend Time Watching the Teacher's and Caregiver's Interactions with the Children
If you are happy with the daycare's learning spaces, then it is important you spend some time observing the interactions between the existing preschoolers and the teachers and other caregivers working at the daycare. As you are observing, watch for these telltale signs of a positive interaction:
- the children are the center of the program, not the teachers
- the teachers lead the children from activity to activity instead of demanding a quick switch of attention
- the teachers and caregivers take the time to listen to the children and understand their unique needs
In addition, listen for the tone of voice used by the adults and make sure they always speak respectfully with the children.
Tip: Immediately Discount Any Daycare Program that Isn't Licensed by the State
As a final note, it is important you understand each state licenses daycare programs meeting safety and educational standards, and you should immediately discount any options that are not properly licensed. Licensed daycares will have their license and insurance information posted near their entrance and if not then you should ask to see this vital information. If there is an issue with producing the license and insurance certificates or you are given the runaround, then leave and find a different program for your child.
For more information, contact a company like Paulding Preschool.