Every parent wants what's best for their child. At Family Connections of Lane and Douglas Counties we understand how important your child care decision is to you. Finding the type of child care setting most suitable for your needs is the first step in selecting child care. Once you have your referrals to the available care options in your area you are ready to formulate your questions that will assess the quality of the child care. For more information see 7 Quality Indicators.
But what are the most important quality indicators in child care? First of all, any question that relates to your child or the child care setting is important to get answered. Quality child care providers are happy to answer any question that relates to the care being provided. So don't be shy speak up!
There are many resources available to help you select a quality child care setting for your child. Family Connections of Lane and Douglas Counties can provide you with materials that will address the age and needs of your individual child. All you need to do is contact us! In the meantime, here is a brief overview and some information that you might find helpful.
You want your child to be safe and happy, loved and cared for, and learning new things every day. Look for a place where:
You and your child feel welcome. You are greeted personally and feel welcome when you visit. Each child receives warm, individual attention.
Children and adults display positive relationships.
Children look happy and interact with the adults. Adults interact in positive ways with the children, encouraging them and enjoying being with them. Look for adults who listen to the children carefully and give them thoughtful responses.
Safety and health practices are high priorities.
The environment looks clean and well cared for. Equipment and play materials are clean, safe, sturdy, and in good repair. Children should be supervised at ALL times. Snacks and meal are nutritious and children are able to eat as much as they need.
Cultural identity is valued.
Children's learning experiences help them form a strong, positive self-esteem by helping them learn to respect and interact comfortably with people different from themselves. Look for environments that counteract biased messages (books, dolls, toys, decorations, music, food, etc.), reflecting diverse images in gender roles, racial and cultural backgrounds, capabilities, and family lifestyles. Activities and discussions that build positive self-identity and teach the value of differences among people are initiated. Children's questions are answered positively.
Play and learning are valued.
Children are engaged in play. Adults observe childrens play and notice their changing interests and needs and support those activities. Adults extend childrens thinking and learning through questions and comments. Children have opportunities to choose different types of play activities throughout the day. Children spend little or no time watching television or videos, never any thing but high-quality educational programming.
Staff are well-trained.
Staff training is the single most recognized indicator of quality child care. Make sure staff are knowledgeable about how children develop and learn. Staff need to be involved in professional development on an ongoing basis.
Staff turnover is low.
Programs that value staff and work to keep them will have overall lower turnover rates than programs who disregard the needs of their staff. Stable, continuous relationships between caregivers and children are important and high staff turnover can have a negative impact on your child.
The number of children to adults is low.
The number of adults and children is important because it helps determine how much attention your child will receive. There should be at least one adult for every:
Four infants and younger toddlers, (aged 6 weeks through 23 months)
Five older toddlers, (24 months - 29 months),
Ten preschoolers (30 months - 5 years, not yet eligible for first grade),
Fifteen school-agers (six years through age 12.)
Programs that meet regulation and accreditation standards.
Programs who meet standards for quality and those who go beyond minimum licensing standards show a commitment to excellence in early childhood care and education. Seek these programs out; they are more likely to understand childrens needs at different ages, plan appropriate activities, and provide positive guidance and learning opportunities for children. For more information visit the National Association for the Education of Young Children.