Most parents get stressed when it is time to leave their child to a child care facility. After the maternity leave is over, even the very thought of leaving their child with an unknown person and completely new surroundings seems stressful. Moreover the rising cost of child care facility is another factor that adds to their stress. The most important factors that influence the decision are fees of the child care facility, its location and availability of seat for their child along with these factors, it is equally important to know about the reputation of the facility, accreditations and their procedures, like is it full time or part time, the working days and programs they conduct for the parents.
However, there are some important interview questions you should be asking when looking at a child care program for your children:
Does your child care facility hold a proper license or accreditations? A child care facility that does not hold a proper license is definitely not undergone state mandatory inspections. Hence it is necessary to send your child to a licensed child care facility which is thoroughly inspected for the safety of your child. Although being licensed does not necessarily guarantee quality care, it will indicate that the provider is taking his business seriously. At least there is the indication that they are maintaining certain standards.
Are thorough background checks done for the teachers? You are leaving your child at an unknown place with unknown teachers. Hence a thorough background check of teachers is very important because your child will spend most of his time with the teachers. So they should be apt enough to handle your child well. Also remember, your child will be spending his most crucial years of development with his teachers.
Are the staff qualified? You’ll feel more confident with child care programs that have professionals to take care of your child. Children in child care programs are at the most crucial stage of development. Staff should be qualified in carrying out activities that will enhance their growth and development. Additionally, you will feel more comfortable if the staff are trained in CPR and first aid treatment. Find out which staff will be responsible for your child. Determine if you will be able to have short discussions with them to get a report on how your child is doing.
What is the teacher-to-child ratio? A licensed facility has to follow the set teacher-to-child ratio. The greater the number of children to one staff, the less amount of individual attention will take place. Thus lesser children with each teacher is a good set up. This further ensures that the teacher isn’t overloaded with a lot of children and the rooms are not over packed. Ideally, it should be a 1:5 ratio for children one to three years. Younger than this is 1:4. Three to four year olds should be 1:7 and older children is a ratio of 1:15.
How happy are the teachers in the environment? Happy teachers mean happy surroundings which mean happy children. This also implies that the facility offers a good work environment. Thus you are ensured that the facility has high quality caretakers If the turnover rate of teachers is high, it means that the teachers are not happy in the set up, which can be a red flag for you.
What amount of information of a child is required and how is it filed? A child care facility does not necessarily need all the details like the exact date of birth, full name and social security number. As many children are prey to identity theft, it is necessary to be extra careful. Only the director of the facility should have access to your child’s personal information.
How often do you clean the carpets and play toys? Dirty carpets and infected toys can cause stomach infections easily. Hence there should be high cleanliness standards provided by the facility.
What is the play area like? Check out where your child will play. Is it free from hazards or is it possible for a child to get hurt easily there?
Do the teachers hold certification for first-aid and CPR? If the child care facility is licensed, this is mandatory. It is better to be safe than sorry.
What safety measures are adopted by the facility? You must be sure that the place where you leave your child for hours should be safe and protected. The doors and windows must be locked. The play area should be safe and clean with proper high fences all around. Moreover, the facility should pay attention to who will pick and drop the child, proper identification proof is needed if parents do not come. Ventilation and emergency exits should also be checked. How does the provider respond in the event a child falls ill? Your questions will answer also the procedure for preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in small babies. You will also want to know that their safety policy includes ensuring that children are vaccinated against major diseases. Determine also if there is a plan for evacuation in the event of a fire or other major disaster.
What’s the daily schedule or curriculum? Even at baby stage, a child care program will have a schedule of activities for their day. Included in the schedule should be time for play, development, and sleep. Find out when is nap time. How does the program cater to children’s development and growth? Are there activities such as reading aloud to children, playing with numbers, writing and other tasks?
What are the business hours? You’ll want to know if your work schedule fits into the provider’s business hours. Therefore, determine their policy if you have to pick up late. How many days of the week does it operate, and what about holidays? Can it fit in my schedule?
What costs are involved? While the cost of daycare will be routinely given to you, you need to know what these involve. What if you have to pick up later than regular hours? Find out if these costs include outings and parties such as holiday times. Is there additional cost for special needs?
When can you visit? A visitation policy should tell you when you can or may not visit the daycare. Of course nap times may be included and you will know definitely that this time is out in wanting to see your child. However, visiting should not be so stringent that you cannot visit any at all. Room should be made for you to turn up and be able to see your child in action.
Other questions you should have answers to include:
Not all child care centers are created equal. Some have qualified caregivers while others do not invest in the appropriate personal or other resources. Others might unfortunately be careless with the safety of children while others take the safety of children under their care very seriously. Some may be found near you while others are located very far from home. All these are important factors that you need take into consideration.
At the end of the day it is important to do your due diligence to ensure you have confidence and peace and mind in your decision. A quality child care program is extremely important to identify. If you are in Albany and have questions you need answers to, please consider giving TSL Adventures a call.
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This blog is for parents and educators to learn more about our organization. It's also the space where we share information of interest to parents.