There is no time in a person’s life more integral to his or her intellectual development than early childhood. By the age of three, humans develop a many as one quadrillion connections between their brain cells. That’s around twice as many as the average adult! The upshot of that is that children need to be nurtured most when they’re developing so many synaptic connections. Studies have shown that children participating in quality early childhood programs grow up healthier and wealthier than their peers; they’re more likely to own homes and have jobs, making at least $5,000 a year more than children without early childhood education.
Since the first daycare, Societe des Crèches, appeared in France around 1840, parents have been clamoring to enroll their children in early childhood programs. Many parents are committed finding the best childcare facilities, but don’t know how to separate the good from the bad. In this article, we’ll give a few important questions to ask daycare providers and explain what to look for in a daycare.
Questions to Ask Daycare Providers
- How do you choose your curriculum?
If you don’t hear the words “developmentally appropriate,” think twice. This term is used in early childhood education to describe a program that is aware of child development and that has goals and procedures that correspond with the developmental levels of its students. In childcare programs, most students are no older than four years old. Developmentally, they are still building their concepts of the world through exploration. A high quality daycare or preschool recognizes that developmental characteristic and provides a safe place for children to explore their environments with support. In practice, that means that the childcare facility allows children to learn through play. Not all of that play should be unstructured. Choice time is often used as well, during which children are supplied with multiple play based learning stations where they can practice their skills and further their development. Short bursts of group instruction utilizing read aloud story books and sing alongs are also developmentally appropriate.
- What are your safety and nutrition policies?
If you’re going to entrust your child’s care to another person for a substantial amount of time, you should absolutely know that they’re caring for your child just as you would. Ask about safety guidelines, making sure that the building is secured against intruders and that safety protocols are in place for any outdoor ventures. If the facility provides meals and snacks, ask to see a sample menu so that you can confirm the nutritional value of those provisions.
- How do you control germ spread?
Childcare facilities have the potential to be extremely germy. Young children aren’t particularly adept at cleaning up after themselves, and to compound that, aren’t very good at compensating for those behaviors in others. It’s up to the childcare facility to make sure that everything is as bacteria free and safe as possible.
- How do you hire teachers? Some facilities don’t hire genuine experts for their staff. Contrary to what some believe, a love for children is not enough to provide a superior learning experience in a childcare setting. Ask if the staff are trained in child development, classroom management, and educational psychology. Preferably, they should have degrees in early childhood education.
Don’t entrust the care of your child to a childcare facility that is unqualified. Bring this list of questions to ask daycare providers, take tours, and make your decision seriously and confidently. A child’s future is a terrible thing to waste. Ger more information on this topic here.