Sunday, September 18, 2011

Guest Post: Choosing a Child Care Center

Today, I am happy to welcome Emily Patterson who is offering great advice for parents who are looking for quality preschools or childcare centers for their children.  I've been so fortunate to find a wonderful, nurturing school at my childrens' church, but maybe you are in the process of researching schools for your children.  If so, this article is for you!

Choosing a Child Care Center

For parents who are unable to provide full time child care for their children because of career commitments or other factors, finding a substitute to provide parental love and nurturing can be a truly daunting task. While no person can totally replace a parent’s significant role in helping their children develop in a positive and nurturing fashion, parents should actively seek the best possible alternatives for their young preschool children under the age of five.

The options in most cases do not include leaving the children with family and friends. Economics may force that issue, but for the best overall results, a staff of professionals at an accredited school or children’s care center may be the better option.

Before any decision is made, a thorough investigation of possibilities should be undertaken. Recommendations from family and friends should be investigated, but parents should seek out exactly what they feel is best for their children. Much background on schools can be garnered on the web. The list should be concentrated only on those facilities with which parents feel most comfortable.

The next step is to make appointments at all qualifying schools and begin the interview process. Parents have an uncanny ability to instinctively know which of the potential schools will work best. These instincts and first reactions are often the best factors for finding the right placement. Parents know that children have instincts too; if something doesn’t seem right to the child, go on to the next school on your list.

Before your child is enrolled, your responsibilities are beginning. It is particularly essential that you familiarize yourself with the school’s staff. That means administrators and teachers, as well. Get to know school policies and the strengths and perceived weaknesses of the staff. They are you partners in your child’s future. It is important that open communication be established and maintained with all your partners at the school.

Before the final decision is made, consider the five areas of concern listed in the statements and questions below to help you with your final decision.

1. Do your goals and educational philosophies match those of the school? Is the school’s curriculum up to date and in keeping with advances in education? Do you think that the school offers your child the best advancement opportunities to the next level of his schooling? Finally, does your child seem to be a good fit for the school and fellow students?

2. Is the school accredited by a reputable accrediting agency? What are their standards? Is there a list of these available, and does the school set their agenda to make certain that their standards are adhered to?

3. Teachers should have high standards, as well. What are their credentials? Do they strive to keep abreast of new methods? Are the teachers versed in first-aid techniques and CPR in case of an emergency? Do you feel confident in their abilities to guide your children and protect them? Would you want them as grandparents for your kids?

4. How does the school seem to you? Is it inviting? Do classrooms look like a great environment for learning? Is there interaction between teachers and students, and are there enough programs to keep your child engaged and interested? How about field trips and outside exposure? These are all vital considerations.

5. School Policies should not be overlooked: Do teachers communicate with parents? What is the school safety record? What are the costs and payment options? How does the school handle emergencies?

Your child is your life. It is important that you get him or her on the right track early on during his developmental years. Whatever choice of schools you make, do your best to ensure that you have picked the right one. The rewards will be many.

Submitted on behalf of Primrose Schools: innovative, high-quality early education and day care services by Emily Patterson (epatt1062)

Thank you, Emily!

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