Parenting in Action: Choosing a Daycare

A new school year means that the kids everywhere are heading into the classroom for a year of friends and learning. But for little ones going into day care for the first time, the experience of being away from mom and dad might be incredibly new and frightening. Taking time to learn about local facilities and there history can help to find the perfect program that best fits you and toddler.  

Facility
The first step you'll need to take is choosing whether your child will enroll in a commercial or private day care. The main difference is that private facilities are usually run out of a home and consist of no more than 2 or 3 staff members. Commercial programs will have multiple staff, more space and a larger student body. Once you pin what type of center you're interested in research the center's history, accreditation and facilities making sure it's in compliance with all state and federal regulation, is safe and has low staff to student ratio. You should also ask for a written version of the day care's policies on sick students, disciple and parental communication. Make sure to visit the facility and ask for a guided tour of the entire property. The day care refuses to show you any part of entire facility that is a red flag.
 
Curriculum
Although your toddler won't be getting homework anytime soon, it is important that the day care facility is engaging your child through learning activities like songs, games and creative play. Day care isn't a place where kids sleep and watch movies all day regardless of what any day care tells you. They should be learning to interact with new adults, peers and begin to show the ability to communicate verbally more and more. 
 
Not all day cares are going to offer a curriculum that fits your family. So make sure that if you're looking for advanced, religious or other types of curriculum that the day care provide you with a detailed list of how the curriculum is taught and practiced.
 
Ask Questions
As parents, you are your child's number one advocate from day care to health care. Using that sixth sense you have to find the best program will be pivotal as to how your child develops into pre-k, kindergarten and grade school. If something doesn't seem right, speak up and ask. No topic is off limits when it comes to your child's safety so engage the center's staff about any topic you like. If you're concerned about something, let them know.
 
The new school year is exciting for everyone including the youngest members of the family. With research, interviews and a little time, your youngest pack member will soon learn to look forward to August as well.
 
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