Finding a daycare center is a milestone accomplishment in your toddler’s life. Daycare sets them upon their journey for growth, and can have lasting effects on their childhood. In fact, children that spent time in “high quality” daycare centers tend to have greater academic success and a wider range of emotional maturity.
However, kids in childcare centers have also been shown to get sick more often. Many also claim that daycares can breed bad behavior, as an effect of toddlers watching other children. Given all the above, it’s important to take your time when finding the best daycare center for your toddler! To help you start, you may want to consider the following factors.
For practical reasons, it’s best to begin your process of finding a daycare center by establishing a budget. This is especially the case today, with childcare rates increasing post-pandemic in Utah. Average prices stand between $500 and $600 a month, whereas the higher range daycare places can reach $900 a month.
A child can spend up to 25 hours a week for several years in a childcare center, so your budget calendar needs to be duly planned out. This means considering your household income and other childcare expenses on top of daycare fees.
Range of activities offered
A good childcare center will have a variety of activities. These are meant to stimulate your child’s emotional and intellectual learning, such as this colorful game we reviewed, which enhances a child’s color recognition skills while also developing their fine motor skills and reflexes.
These are the types of activities a childcare center must have, as well as plenty of time for outdoor play, as opposed to screen time. Otherwise, look for daycares that build a child’s basic daily needs — from snack time, napping, to potty training — into a well thought-out daily schedule.
Background of the staff and administration
There can be no compromise when it comes to the safety of our children. It’s thus important that we can trust the caretakers who’ll be looking after them for several hours a week. This means making sure these caretakers have the right skills and background for the job when you are finding a daycare center.
The bar is especially high for administrative positions. In particular, well trained preschool directors have a specialized background that equips them with the skills needed for managing a childcare center. This allows them to oversee all of the staff, while communicating with parents and young learners.
Additionally, good childcare centers will also require all teachers to meet minimum educational qualifications. This would be a minimum of a two-year degree in child development or related fields. This ensures the educators at the center are fully capable of rearing younger minds.
Reviewing the curriculum helps parents understand the goals of the activities offered, as well as the philosophy of the daycare. For starters, the program must be in line with the local and state curricula. This banks on teaching toddlers the basic language skills, colors and numbers.
However, there are specialized daycare centers out there that parents may want to consider. Companies such as Qualtrics are opening up on-site daycare programs that focus on STEM education. This means that their curriculum centers around new technologies, and aims to teach children to enjoy learning. This could be especially helpful for working parents. It will help take some of the pressure off of raising a young family, without sacrificing career goals.
Besides those listed above, parents may want to look into other factors such as facilities, location, and discipline methods when finding a daycare center. With the right research, we can ensure that our toddlers receive the best daycare experience possible!
— Article exclusively penned for themamasgirls.com by Tilly Sabina Ashby