Your child deserves a quality education from the very start. According to First Things First Organization, in the first five years of a child's life their brain develops more than at any other time in their life. Early brain development has been shown to have a lasting impact on the child’s ability to learn and succeed in life. In addition to a loving, nurturing home environment, the childcare you use can also influence their development. Choosing to place your child in someone else's care is also a cause for anxiety for parents. The choices can be overwhelming, especially for working parents whose children will spend relatively long hours in childcare. It is important you understand your options.
Types Of Childcare
Childcare is usually classified into two categories, home-based care, and center-based care.
Childcare homes usually have a lower number of children in the provider's home. It is more commonly chosen by parents with children under three. Center-based serve larger groups in a non-home setting. Since they tend to place a greater emphasis on education, most parents prefer this environment for older children. Most childcare providers fall under three categories:
- Family childcare homes that care for five to seven children
- Group home care for eight to twelve children
- Childcare centers for twelve or more children
The amount of children in childcare is not as important as the quality of care.
The Importance of Childcare Quality
The quality of childcare is the most consistent finding among studies on the effect of childcare on children's development. Your child’s individual needs will depend upon their age, but all high-quality childcare includes certain key aspects no matter what age. These include sensitive and responsive caregiving, language and cognitive stimulation and a healthy, safe environment. The benefits of such childcare include long term benefits such as:
- Increased cognition
- Increased language development
- Less conflict with caregivers
- Improved interaction with peers
Sadly, the majority of childcare across the United States has inconsistent quality. That is why it is so vital to your child's development that you choose wisely and carefully.
Finding A High-Quality Childcare Program
According to researchers, high-quality childcare programs have certain characteristics in common. By following this checklist as you interview potential childcare programs you will be able to make better choices for your child. Quality indicators include:
- Low teacher to child ratio
- Small group sizes
- Staff with a college education and get ongoing training
- Prior education and experience from the director
- Low instructor turnover
- Accreditation or higher than minimum licensing standards
- Age-dependent activities
- Positive teacher and child interactions.
- Good health and safety practices
When there are low ratios and low turnover, teachers can respond to the individual needs of the child and can give each child enough attention to create a bond, increasing the child's feelings of security. With a better-educated staff and director, they understand the needs and development of young children, allowing them to plan activities for development appropriately. Lastly, when childcare has higher than minimum license requirements or national accreditation, their intent is to provide the high-quality care you are looking for.
When it comes to providing for the needs of your children, the staff at Little Steps Daycare will meet all of your requirements. We’ll help guide your child through the most important developmental milestones. Feel free to contact us for an interview today.