In March last year, Linda Franca would have waiting list of parents and up to ten calls of inquiry every day. She owns a day care center in Honolulu, Hawai. Since the beginning of 2008, the aftermath of the recession and sluggish economy is still affecting industry all over the world. Family spending is affected and any member capable of working has to find a job. With all adults working, children have to be left in the day care centers. The day care center industry is hit by the recession too. For instance in Arizona, the state announced to more than 15,000 parents that there was no more funding available to provide day care subsidies. In North Carolina too, government funded day care centers have more than 27,000 children on the waiting list. Another such example is in Missouri, where the government is reducing the budget for child care services by $ 3.4 million, leaving thousands of children without safety and education. With government run centers shutting temporarily, parents have a very little choice and have a hard time selecting a center that is reasonably priced and reliable at the same time. It is difficult for them to choose between high priced centers and smaller centers which sometimes lack quality and dependability. A few tips to consider while selecting a day care center for your child are discussed further.
Choosing Day Care Center For Your Children
- First and foremost, safety is the biggest concern that you should focus on. Take a tour of the school and check to see whether it is providing a hygienic, protected and safe environment for children. Ensure that the school is equipped with staff that are trained in dealing with emergencies and that they have safety measures in place.
- Ask about what kind of staff and teachers work there. The high attrition of teachers reflects the quality of the service the school is providing. Teachers are usually under paid and do not stay for long durations in one school. Check the tenure of the teacher who will be taking care of your child. Also find out what is the teacher to child ratio. If one teacher is managing too many children, necessary attention and care will be difficult to provide to each child individually. A reputable day center will usually have 1 adult for every 4 toddlers, 2 teachers for 7 to 8 three year olds and 1 teacher for 8 to 10 four to five year olds.
- While searching, it is best to look at schools which are accredited or state licensed. This will ensure that standards are being met and that the staff will be trained in teaching and taking care of children.
- Whether it is an in-home care center, a day care center or a group home, it is necessary for parents to ask questions and know as much as possible before selecting a school.
- Some of the questions you may ask could include inquiries about the teacher to child ratio, what is the number of children that can be admitted based on the license, what is the average duration of the term of staff members, daily personal hygiene practice maintained by the staff, center timings and picking up policy, facilities such as refrigerators to store food and supplies such as diapers, how do they deal with emergency situations,are there necessary arrangements such as on call doctor and availability of medicines, fee structure and its breakdown, reporting of staff about child’s activities and habits, safety of outdoor play areas, what is the level of parents' involvement in school activities and whether parents are allowed to visit the school anytime.
- It will be good for you to take references of other parents who have enrolled their children in the school to get firsthand experience and review.
- After selecting a day care center, remember to keep regular contact with the school and occasionally drop by without making an appointment to check whether the school and staff are good and your child is fine and happy.