Picking Safe Childcare
Look Around for Clues
Where to Begin?
There are so many childcare choices available these days. However, a discerning parent will be sure that they leave their child in safe environment. Of course, the best care is when parents can take care of their own children. Nevertheless, with the demands of jobs and careers, often parents are forced to put their child in some type of childcare arrangement. There are home care options, and child development schools available. Having worked in several childcare facilities, while in college, I have learned a lot about what parents should look for in order to determine value.
First you want to research accredidations that are considered to have high standards(ex: NAEYC). If a school has accreditation with a well known organization, then they are expected to uphold all the standards required to maintain their good standings. So look for accredidations, also reviews, and expectations listed for the teachers and support staff.
Secondly, go for a tour of the school, look at the environment. Are the classes well organized? Do they serve quality food? Dothey have a good security system. For example, one place I worked at had a sign in system for both parents and staff, a door that led to the classrooms was connected to the sign in system. Whenever we signed in the door would unlock for a few seconds for us to enter. This is an excellent example of great security. Also having open classrooms, with windows large enough to see the whole class room from the door is a good safety characteristic. Everyone should always be able to see what is going on in all classes. their should not be any dark or closed areas in a childcare center. Also, make sure thatthe school does background checks and fingerprinting on their employees. You do not want a criminal watching your child. While on tour look at the children being watched. Do they seem to be comfortable? Are they being treated with respect?
Once You Find a Center
How do you know you have the right center for your child? When you pick your child up are they happy? If you go in the middle of the day, unexpectedly, do you find your child happily learning, and enjoying their day? Check randomly on your child occassionally. Talk with all the staff that care for your children. Never mistreat the people who care for your little ones. I remember parents who acted like they were high and mighty. They would turn their noise up at the assistant teachers when we were the main ones caring for their children. Also do not be so caught up in work that you do not do something about a bad situation. At one center I worked at, the center was so old and outdated. It was infested with roaches. Parents would find roaches in their childrens' belongings and did not demand changes to the center.
I can tell you from working in some of the best childcare centers in Houston, that no matter how much money you pay, their is still a need for keeping daycare directors and teachers accountable for a superior experience for your child. I have seen horrible things and wished that I could change the system. Little ones cannot tell you when the staff is being unprofessional, or when some one dislikes them or has a favorite and a least favorite. Always trust your instincts and check your child daily for any marks. Also watch your childs' behavior, look for emaotiional changes or wierd behaviors. These can be signs of abuse.
- National Association for the Education of Young Children | NAEYC
A great organization, that has high standards for schools it represents
Never Sacrifice Your Child's Safety
Never put your child in the care of strangers that you have no way of knowing about their background and character. Never be so easy to trust a person just because they hold the position of a teacher, coach, mentor, scout leader, or any other child care personel. In a world where so many people use childcare opportunities, to hurt the innocent, you can never be to careful about the care you choose for your youngsters. Never trust people listed in ads with accredidations and background checks. It is good to have a reference that you trust before you take a chance with a new sitter. I do not mean to be negative, there are some people out there in centers and homes that really care about children, then there are those whom we hope our children never meet. Parents have the obligation to always keep tabs on their children's care, and never get to comfortable or complacent. Children need you to be their constant protector.