As I prepare to open a new child development center, I find myself answering questions such as what type of curriculum do you offer?, is part time available?, what ages do you serve?, is it a mixed age classroom?, etc. Finding good childcare isn’t so simple and easy anymore. As matter of fact, in some full time centers, children spend more hours in childcare than they spend at home with their parents or family. Quality care is a necessity and essential to meet the needs of all parties.
The first step in choosing child care is to determine what type of care you need. Full time care or part time. Full day or Half day? Home care or Licensed Center?
The second step is to check out the center. Call, Visit, Search them online. The Department of Family and Protective Services has a child care search that gives very detail information about providers registered with them. It’s not easy handing your child over to someone you just met for hours out of the day. Although children are more trusting that parents and make friends with others fairly easy, the parent should definitely check things out. If the center is not registered with Child Care Licensing, its probably best that you avoid that program.
Third, what can you afford? vs. What are you willing to pay? I have seen cost for infant care rate over $800 per month for full time care. Centers that charge these rates may have all the bells and whistles but what exactly are you paying for? More doesn’t always mean better. In other words, just because the tuition is higher doesn’t mean the care is better. Some families struggle to pay high cost tuition because they truly believe their child is receiving better care and service. Don’t look exclusively at cost, also look at class sizes, ratio, staff turnaround and educational levels of the teachers.
Child Care Licensing has several pamphlets and information guides on finding childcare. (Click on the link below if your browser does not automatically open a new page.)
The site also has information on parenting, child safety and child development.