Finding a high quality early learning environment that meets the needs of your child and your family can be challenging. The quality of care and opportunities children receive from their child care provider is pivotal to their emotional, physical and intellectual development. The importance of selecting a quality child care coupled with the problem of waitlists and cost can often mean the process is overwhelming for many families.
Checklist for selecting quality child care.
1.) Give yourself ample time to make this decision.
2.) Make a list of what is important to you and your child – hours, location, fees, type of care, philosophies, child to staff ratio and other aspects you may desire ( healthy meals included, nap times)
3.) The Province of BC funds the Child Care Resource and Referral program (CCRR) to provide families with access to a child care referral list, information on child care subsidies, and quality child care. Take advantage of this free service, and contact CCRR at 250 392 4118 to have a Childcare Consultant connect you with Child Care that may meet your needs.
4.) Schedule visits with as many child care providers as you can. This will help you get a sense of each program and type of care being offered.
While visiting a child care centre keep in mind the following questions:
• Are you licensed with the Ministry of Health or registered with CCRR?
• What are your staff qualifications?
• Ask for references
• Are you closed for holidays?
• What is your guidance policy?
• Ask to review their parent package and contract.
• Observe the environment – look for cleanliness, safety, developmentally appropriate play materials.
• What feeling does the child care provider give you?
The BC government website offers a variety of resources for selecting childcare. You can print their checklist off by clicking here.
5.) The transition can be difficult for some children. Ensure a smooth transition by explaining what they will be doing, tell them the name of the child care provider and what they are like, and explain to them who will be dropping them off and picking them up. Many child care providers will be happy to have you visit with the child before their first day.