Parents would normally want the best for their children and of course this would extend to the choice of daycare center to enroll their children in. With numerous daycare centers available, choosing one carefully becomes an important task. Referrals could come from friends, the internet or newspapers. Daycare centers usually have websites with information about their location, licensing, and qualifications. The local advertisements usually include information on small family type childcare providers. The local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCRR) office have counselors available to seek for advice regarding child care centers based on your zip code and is also a free service.
The evaluation of a child care center basically includes a careful look into its facilities, staff, and services. A visit to the facility and getting references is also a must. The following guidelines should help parents decide which daycare center to patronize.
1. The day care center should be able to maintain cleanliness especially in the eating and play areas. The sand boxes should be clean and the toys should always be disinfected daily.
2. There should be a common bathroom available for the children to use in washing their hands before and after meals and after using the toilet.
3. The diaper changing areas should be clean at all times and proper waste disposal should be followed.
4. The toys and other materials available within the children’s reach should be non-toxic.
5. Medications and other substances that may be dangerous for children should be kept out of reach. Information on poisonous materials should also be posted.
6. The emergency plan of the building should be clearly visible to everyone and the children should be properly trained on what to do should there be an emergency. Fire, earthquake, hurricane, and tornado drills should be part of the program of the daycare. Numbers to contact in case of an emergency should be available and posted near a telephone.
7. A first aid kit should be available and fully stocked at all times.
8. The play area should be safe and clean and the playground should have a fence around it. Toys should be age-appropriate.
Staff and Services
1. The teachers and director of the facility should be qualified to run a daycare center with bachelor degrees in child care related fields. They should also have experiences in working with children for at least a year for teachers and two years for directors. The staff should also have been given background checks.
2. The facility license should be up to date and in plain sight.
3. The teacher or caregiver to student ratio should be low to maintain proper supervision at all times. Babies should be assigned at least two caregivers.
4. The children should be supervised at all times, even when they are sleeping. Children in the company of a caregiver should be in sight of another caregiver at all times.
5. The staff should be well trained in first aid and rescue breathing.
6. More importantly, the staff should be dedicated to caring for the children and helping them develop and should show a genuine love for the children.
The guidelines may be extreme but a concerned parent should be thorough in screening the daycare center to enroll their children in as this is where their children will be most of the time and where they will begin to learn important skills useful when they start school and in life in general.
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