In this blog, we’ll highlight the most important things to look for when you’re amid a daycare search. We know that some factors are more relevant for different families than others (cost, length of commute, waiting list, etc.). But, we also want to help you understand what makes for excellent quality daycare, toddler care, and preschool, as well as why Breakie Bunch is the top choice in Waterford and surrounding areas.
Here are the key areas to research and ask about when you interview a daycare:
Daycare certification and licensing standards establish the minimum acceptable standards for health, safety, and program standards, which in turn ensures the legal operation of the daycare center. Check to make sure the provider is certified/licensed (and that it’s not expired).
Word of mouth is powerful for any business, but it’s especially reassuring to hear other parents’ experiences when you’re making daycare/preschool decisions. Take time to research on Yelp/Google, and look for a Testimonial section on the provider’s website.
- Classroom Ratios
What is the teacher/student ratio for classrooms, and how does it vary by age? Do they meet your state’s legislation and regulations?
- Classroom Schedules
How do program structures vary between infant care, toddler daycare, and preschool programs? What does a typical day entail? Is there enough free play scheduled? Adequate nap time? Some of these questions will be more important to you than others based on your parenting philosophy, but be sure to get a complete understanding of what your children will be doing on a typical day.
- Program Philosophy
The philosophy of a daycare center serves as the foundation for all the program decisions. Check into what your potential provider believes and practices so you’ll know if it’s aligned with your parental values. Read The Breakie Bunch Philosophy here.
- Communication System
How will staff communicate with parents throughout the day? Check into what system is utilized as well as what the policies are for communication if an incident arises, whether it be a medical issue or a behavior concern.
Early Childhood Education is crucial to long-term development of children. Again, while there are multiple philosophies for parenting, a quality daycare/preschool program provider should be able to easily discuss the curriculum, from why that curriculum was chosen to how it supports children’s social/emotional development and readiness for school.
Take a look at the furniture, the toys, how the rooms are set up, and the overall ambiance of the various rooms. Look for developmentally appropriate toys that encourage imaginative play, sensory exploration, and creativity, for example. Also observe whether the rooms are “literacy-rich environments” (especially for preschool!), which basically means there are posters, calendars, artwork, books, and other print materials that support literacy development (here’s a good resource to help you.)
While qualifications are important, there are plenty of other things to consider in finding a quality daycare staff. Be sure that you feel the director and teachers have approachable personalities and clear communication. Also consider asking about staff turnover, as it can be hard for children to adjust to new teachers. Above all else, as simple as it sounds, use your parental instincts to feel for whether the children are well-loved and taken care of.
We hope this list is helpful in your search for the best possible daycare/preschool program for your child(ren)! Please reach out to us with any questions, and drop in for a visit to see if the Breakie Bunch (located at 4440 W Walton Blvd in Waterford) is the right daycare center for you!