Finding the right daycare center to send your child to is never easy. But knowing what to look for can make the process a little easier. Whether you prefer a family daycare or a formal childcare center, it is important you know what to look for. To help you pick the best childcare in San Antonio for your family, here are the basics to look for.
A good reputation
A good daycare center should be recognized for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere. It must also have a nurturing environment. Pay attention to your first impression and how you feel the moment you visit the daycare. To learn about a daycare’s reputation, look online for feedback, reviews and references. You can also drop by the center and approach some parents.
Staff and children interaction
When you get the chance to visit a daycare, pay attention to how the staff interacts with the children. Ideally, the caregiver and/or daycare staff will be actively engaging with them. They should be on the floor playing with the kids, reading them books or having fun and interesting conversations.
During a child’s early years, it is essential they experience warm, loving and close relationships. That’s why it is important that your child’s caregivers are also interactive and responsive.
Pick a daycare which has a low staff-child ratio. It is recommended to have one adult for every three kids especially for infants below 24 months of age. Many states have specific ratios that must be followed. Make sure the center of your choice is within those ratios to ensure plenty of important one on one time.
When looking for a daycare center, find one which shares your same parenting philosophies. This is especially important when it comes to discipline. Ask about the techniques used by caregivers to impose discipline on children. Do they scold the children? How do they talk to kids when something goes wrong?
Also, learn about their schedules and routines. Are there specific times set aside for playing, sleeping and eating? When are babies allowed to sleep? Are meals and snacks included? It helps to create a list of exactly what you want to know before you talk to the staff so you don’t miss getting the answers to your questions.
While it is advantageous to send your child to a daycare with more flexible policies, it is better if the childcare center has established ground rules. Find a daycare with clear regulations on schedules, operating hours and handling emergencies. Request a copy of their handbook or policies. The center must also have an open door policy allowing parents to visit anytime even if it’s unannounced. It’s also good if they encourage parents to take part in the activities which help promote the growth and development of their children.
Stimulating and dynamic curriculum
Another sign of a good daycare is a stimulating curriculum. A great childcare center must have structured schedules which involves plenty of time for play, physical activities, and engaged learning. There should be group and individual activities, mealtimes, napping and free time. If television or video watching must be included in your child’s daily routine, ensure they are educational and age-appropriate. Choosing a daycare center with a stimulating curriculum makes learning enjoyable for them and will help promote child development.
Another important consideration in selecting a daycare is the training and qualification of its staff and caregivers. Daycare center employees must have a background and training in early childhood development. They must be educated and should also have a license.
Communication is key
You’ll want to ensure there is consistent and clear communication between you and the staff. Find out if the director takes time to send newsletters regularly. How does the center communicate with the parents? Is there a regular update documenting each child’s progress and development on a daily basis? If the daycare does these things, it’s a good sign.
A good childcare center can significantly help your little one’s development during their early years. If you’re trying to find a daycare in San Antonio which has all the criteria you’re looking for, consider The Pillars Christian Learning Center.