Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why Quality Child Care Is So Important! #QualityECE @ReadySetGrowLA

As a parent of almost 4 and 6 year olds, I have had to go through the struggles of finding the right education for my children.  With my 6 year old, we chose to start his education at 2 1/2 because of my newborn baby.  It was a struggle to find the right daycare that would give him the love and care that I could give him at home. 

I interviewed and toured several daycares/preschools before settling on the one my now 4 year old attends.  It was a scary process that had so much information to process.  I wish that I had a guideline from other parents or educators to help make the choice easier. 

If you are a new parent, you are bombarded by an overwhelming amount of information that you need to learn to keep your child healthy and happy.  In the early years, it is all you can do to get sleep at night and at least one square meal a day.  You have read the books about when your child needs to reach certain milestones such as crawling, walking and talking.  Eventually you teach them to know their colors, shapes and letters.

Did you know that there is much more that your child needs to learn in the first five years?  Why is it so important to make sure that our children get the right start in the first 5 years?  Studies have shown that the first five years are the most critical for success later in life.  90% of the child's brain develops during this time!

Many parents work outside the home and have to find caregivers for their young children, some even from a few weeks old!  How do you find the RIGHT childcare?  Will they hold and love your child the way you would?  Do they engage the child in activities to stimulate the brain?  Do they set your child in its crib or in front of a TV?

One site that you is an invaluable resource is  This site puts you in touch with your local Child Care Center.  You can also dial 211.

When deciding on the right daycare, what questions do you ask to put your mind at ease while you are away?  Ready Set Grow LA's  "Quality Care Lasts a Lifetime" provides the 5 steps to start with.

Assess your needs and do research:
  • Decide what you want and need in a daycare. 
  • Do you need Fulltime? Part-time? 
  • Are you looking for someone in home care, family caregiver- ie. neighbor or relative, daycare center or pre-school.  
  • There are many options from a friend watching your child to a large daycare center. 
  • Do your research based on what you want/need from a daycare.  Here is a site that can help.  Child Care Aware is a website that will help you find the right information to locate the best daycare for your child.
Check Credentials Caregiver Training and Licensing information:

  • Make sure they are up to date. 
  • What qualifications do they have to make them the perfect candidate?  If you choose family/friend to watch your children, do they know CPR/First Aid?
  • Are they able to engage and connect with your child while doing age appropriate activities? 
  • You might suggest asking them to take a class to learn about child development and nutrition.
  • License: they are required to follow rules regarding health and safety with teacher training.  This also means they have had fingerprints checked, background check, and have had CPR/First Aid Training
  • Caregiver Training and Education: Good training and education gives the teachers knowledge of how to support interests and growth while addressing cultural needs.  Find out if they went to college or got education in early child development.
  • Accreditation:  while not necessary(only 10% of preschools have accredidation with National Association for the Education of Young Children) it goes above and beyond what is expected.
  • The Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS): The National Learning Network was formed by a coalition of states and organizations.  This lets parents know the rating of a preschool and level of quality of a preschool.  Similar to a restaurant rating.  One such QRIS is the Los Angeles Universal Preschool.
Getting to know your childcare provider the tour: 
  • Take a visit and meet with the childcare provider/center.  Observe the staff and  how they connect with the children. 
  • Do they read the children well and meet their needs and wishes?  Use a Child Care Checklist to see if its a right fit. 
  • Ask questions such as: First Aid/CPR trained?
  • What is the staff turnover rate? Certified or Accredited?
  • What methods are used to help a crying child?  What activities do they do with the children?  How do you discipline a misbehaving child such as for tantrums versus hitting or fighting?  
  • Use this positive caregiving checklist to help measure the experiences while in daycare.  
  • What is the adult to child ratio
  • Are the activities carefully planned out or are they spur of the moment?  Planned age appropriate activities gives the child a goal and a challenge and keeps them engaged.
  • Family Involvement: Quality care providers should have a open communication with you the parent.  They need to notify you of fieldtrips, menus, curriculum, staff changes and future events.
  • Health and Safety:  Staff should all have up to date CPR/First Aid certifications and have an emergency plan in place.  The daycare should always be clean with good lighting and temperature controlled.  The staff should not leave children unsupervised at all times.  The staff should also be a good provider/teacher of good nutrition and hygiene.
Make a commitment: 
  • Review your notes
  • Think about what you saw
  • Make a choice of which type of care is best for child
REMEMBER: Above all, children need to receive love, support, encouragement, and guidance from caregivers.

What comes next?
  • Stay involved in your child's education and care.  Talk to your child to make sure they are happy and adjusting.
  • Make sure their continued schooling is of good quality and age appropriate, supports the brain, social and emotional development of your child. 
  • Visit the reference page for more information on quality child care, and review First 5 LA's Family Guides which offer helpful tips and advice for parents.
I urge parents of new school age children to use the resources that I was not aware of even 4 years ago.  Visit Ready Set Grow LA to find invaluable resources to help us new/er parents to make the right decisions so our children grow up to be healthy and successful adults.

Other ways you can keep up to date on helpful tips and resources include:
To give your child a little extra head start on learning, I am providing a chance at a Giveaway basket, perfect for your little ones.  Inside are:

  • 1- Lap chalkboard
  • 1- Box of chunky chalk
  • 1- Chalkboard eraser
  • 1- Small red ball
  • 1- First 5 LA Family Guide
  • 1- Penmanship booklet
  • 1- Bilingual "Colors/Colores" book
  • 1- "My Shining Star" book in English
  • 1- "Tu eres mis Estrella" in Spanish
  • 1- "Harry the Otter" Book
Enter Below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

DISCLAIMER: This is part of a compensated campaign with Smith New Media and However, all opinions expressed are my own.

1 comment:

  1. I am a working mother and there was a time when i had to put my son in a childcare center. I have a nanny living with us now for 2 years now to look after him. I see to it that even with a nanny and even when he was in a childcare center, his needs are well taken cared of.



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