With all of the choices for finding the right caregiver for your child as Mequon resident is one of the most important decisions you can make as a parent. Take it from Kids Rule Acedmy owner Alex Mazur, the process of finding reliable child care that also provides the best type of learning environment can be complicated and stressful. Knowing what to look for and how to evaluate a child care center can make your decision much easier.
Studies have shown the relationship between a child and their day care provider can leave a lasting impact on a child's self image, education and their understanding of the world around him or her. Proper child care, along with an educational setting, is essential to the well being of not only the child, but the parent as well. Warm and nurturing care, along with a educational program and curriculum, can make young children feel safe, secure, and engaged with the type of fundamental learning skills necessary to succeed in the upcoming experiences of elementary school and beyond.
As a parent, knowing your child is in the hands of qualified and trusted caregivers brings a peace of mind when re-entering the workforce.
Listed below are some important aspects of child care to consider when picking a child care center.
Things to Look for When Visiting a Care Center
You can learn a great deal about a care center if you drop in unannounced before and after your child is enrolled. When you drop in, look for: noise levels, crying children, and televisions constantly on. Check to see if children seem engaged in some kind of meaningful activity or if they are just wandering aimlessly. Also check if the caregivers are interacting with the children or if they are constantly busy with other tasks.
Education and Experience of Child Care Provider
To some experts, education and experience are a major factor when deciding on caregivers. A caregiver’s background in early childhood education and experience in caring for children can leave an impact on the quality of the care they provide.
A smaller group size, in most cases, is better. Having fewer children to care for means each child will have more one-on-one attention, which makes it easier for caregivers to respond to individual needs. Licensing regulations are what determines the maximum group sizes for children. Read more here
Children should be exposed to as many experiences and learning opportunities as possible, while still in a safe and controlled environment. Look for structured daily activities as well as time for exercise outside. Care centers should have a tasteful amount of toys and furnishings that are child safe. Another important thing to look for is open spaces for children to explore and quiet spaces for children to read.
It is important to get an understanding of how the caregivers discipline poor behavior. Generally, you want to find a care center that has a discipline style similar to yours. Check to make sure they have a discipline policy in place.
Communication with your Care Center
You want to be able to get feedback from your child's caregivers. Make sure the caregivers are approachable and offer a structured program to get feedback about your child.
Visiting Your Child
Law states that you can visit your child at your care center at anytime. When taking a tour, however, it is common that they schedule an appointment to make sure someone is available to show you the care center.
Help with Finding Child Care
There are 17 child care resource and referral agencies throughout the state of Wisconsin that are designed to locate the right child care for you. These agencies will provide you with a listing of all regulated, licensed or certified child care providers in specific counties that each one services. These listings have be sorted by your specific needs and can also provide additional information about the care centers. You can call 1-800-713-KIDS (5437) to reach the agency that serves the county in which the call originates. You can also check the child care resource and referral webs site to find the agency that serves you county. http://dcf.wisconsin.gov/childcare/licensed/contact.htm
How to Monitor your Child Care Center
All licensed programs are subject to periodic monitoring visit by a licensing specialist. Every time a care center visit is conducted, the specialist checks to ensure the care center is in compliance with the licensing rules. At the end of every visit, the specialist discusses any violations with the staff and reports the findings. Statement of Non-Compliance or Compliance Statements that shows licensing violations must be posted in an area of the care center that is readily visible to the public. If you do not see one posted, ask the center to provide the results of the most recent evaluation.
Voicing your Concerns about a Child Care Center
You should visit your child's care center on a regular basics, however if you feel there are any licensing violations or have any concerns we encourage you to call the state licensing office for your county immediately. Read more at the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families website.