Child Care Providers: The Most Important Choice for Your Child
Child Care Tips from the Experts
Early Learning Tips from The Family Conservancy; a LOCAL organization working to empower KC families for a successful future. Helping Children & Strengthening Families since 1880.
Whether you call it daycare, child care or preschool, choosing child care providers is one of the most important parenting decisions you’ll make.
It’s also difficult.
When you’re making this tough decision, it’s important to understand how a high-quality program can help prepare your child for success in school and life.
We stand behind the belief that parents are a child’s most important teacher. However, many children spend the majority of their day in child care. It is important to recognize the important role child care providers play and choose a program that can provide your child the care and learning experiences they need.
…what’s the bottom line?
The Right Child Care Providers Create an Environment for Success
In the first five years, crucial connections form in your child’s brain. Their brain will double in size and reach 90 percent of its adult size by age five. The connections, that account for much of this growth, are how information is retained. While connections will continue to be formed throughout an individual’s lifespan, they form at a much slower rate.
While we have the ability to learn throughout our lives, your child’s brain grows the most in the early years.
For children to reach their full potential, it’s important that the individuals caring for them — whether parents, relatives or child care providers — know how to support healthy physical and brain development during this vital period.
Quality Child Care is Important
Research is clear, children who have access to high-quality early care and education programs are more likely to enter kindergarten with the skills they need to be successful. (social, emotional, physical and cognitive)
What is a High-Quality Child Care Program?
There are several common attributes most high-quality child care programs share.
- State licensing. Licensing is designed to ensure the well-being of children. It requires facilities to meet health and safety standards, such as adequate facilities, limitations on who can have access to children and requiring background checks on employees.
- Caregiver education. Child care is an incredibly important job. The level of education and continuing professional development opportunities should be considered when choosing a provider.
- Accreditation. Programs that achieve accreditation meet a rigorous set of standards (teaching practices, curriculum, measuring progress, etc.) that extend far beyond those required by state licensing.
- Ratios: Younger children require more one-on-one care. Certain teacher-child ratios are required by state licensing, but some providers may adjust ratios to provide more one-on-one support.
- Family Involvement: Preparing your child for success is a partnership between you and your child care provider. High-quality programs often offer opportunities for parents engagement and involvement.
…but what about the cost?
While cost can be a significant burden for parents, much of the cost can be attributed to improvements in quality. Child care is an expensive service to provide, and the best programs — especially those with an emphasis on education — can be even more expensive.
With that said, it’s important to know that a high price tag is not a guarantee of quality.
Finding the Best Child Care Providers
Child care is much more than a safe place for your child to pass time while you’re at work.
We now understand a lot more about child development and the important role high-quality early learning environments play. As research continues to highlight the importance of the early years and the value of high-quality early learning programs, more child care providers are incorporating education and learning to make the most of the time they spend with young children.
If you are looking for child care referrals or have questions about assessing programs, visit The Family Conservancy website or contact one of The Family Conservancy’s child care specialists at 1-800-755-0838.
Brought to you by The Family Conservancy
Helping Children & Strengthening Families