What to Look for in a Childcare Agency
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Originally Posted On: https://bippermedia.com/what-to-look-for-in-a-childcare-agency/
A childcare agency is an institution that cares for children during day hours so parents or guardians can work or complete daily tasks. While children are under the supervision of a childcare agency, they are educated through fun games and activities. There are many benefits to sending your child to childcare. It ensures the safety of your child while you are busy and keeps them in a healthy environment that promotes learning. If you are interested in finding a good childcare agency, this article will discuss what to look for.
Children can be enrolled in childcare as young as 6 months old and can stay in childcare until around 6 years old. When considering a childcare agency, it is important to ask what curriculum they teach the children and at what age. Making sure that children are being taught at age- appropriate levels is essential to their development. For example, by the time a child is 1-2 years old, they should know how to follow simple directions such as “sit down” and have a vocabulary of around 15 or more words.
Milestones for six year old children are much more extensive than for a 1 or 2 year old child. By age 6, children should be speaking in short complete sentences, begin reading, follow a series of tasks, and start learning about numbers. When researching childcare agencies, make certain that the curriculum taught matches up with the age of the child.
You need to be able to trust the caregivers that are watching your child. At the bare minimum, caregivers need to receive around 15 hours of annual training to be qualified to care for children.
In addition to proper educational training, you need to make sure that the childcare agency always has someone on the clock that is certified to respond to a medical emergency. The childcare agency should have employees who have been educated on basic first aid protocol and know how to do CPR on children.
The safety of your child should always be the first priority. When investigating childcare agencies, review what safety policies they follow and what your state’s regulations are for childcare centers. At a minimum, be sure that they follow state and national guidelines.
Something to look for is controlled parent-to-child access. This can be followed in a few ways but some common ones are passcodes at the front of the childcare agency, sign-in/ sign-out books, cameras facing both the parking lot and front desk, and locks on all doors and windows.
The first step you should take when looking into a childcare agency is making sure that they have good reviews online. Reviews are a quick and easy way to identify how well the institution operates and if it is a place that you would trust with your child.
To find the reviews of a childcare agency, simply look them up on the web and click on their reviews. The higher their star rating, the better the childcare agency is. Another way to discover the quality of an agency is by word-of-mouth reviews. Ask your friends and family if they have any recommendations on where to send your child.
The Ratio of Caregivers to Children
Having too many children and not enough caregivers can cause many problems to arise. If children are outnumbering caregivers, then there will be less individualized attention on your child. This will reduce the amount of education your child receives and can be a major safety concern.
Be sure to ask childcare agencies what their ratio of caregivers to children is and if that number ever fluctuates. Depending on your state, there may be laws that define what a proper ratio is so be sure to research that.
Make Sure the Childcare Agency is Licensed
It is illegal for a childcare agency to operate without a proper license. To verify an agency, visit your state’s Department of Licensing website. From there, you can research the childcare agency you are reviewing and ensure that they have an adequate license. You can also examine past complaints and violations a childcare agency may have.
Check for Good Building Maintenance
It is important to ask and learn about the building maintenance a childcare agency follows. You never know when there could be an emergency and ensuring a childcare agency is prepared for the unknown is critical.
When touring an agency ask to see where they keep their fire extinguishers and first aid kids. Also, look around to make sure there are plenty of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout the building. Additionally, ask if they have an emergency plan and if they ever practice it with the children. Practicing emergency protocol will make potential real emergencies smoother and safer.
Other Questions to Ask a Childcare Agency
Once a childcare agency has passed the initial things to look for, you can begin asking them other questions. Some questions you may want to consider asking are:
- What is your pricing? Do you offer any payment plans?
- How many caregivers are first aid certified?
- What is your procedure for disciplining children?
- What are your drop-off/ pick-up times? What happens if I am late?
- How frequently is your establishment cleaned? Does that include toys the children play with?
- Are snacks provided to the children?
- How do you care for children with food allergies?
- Are there nap times? If so, how long?
- What vaccines are required for children to have?
- Do they get outdoor time every day?
- Do you background check your staff?
Ensure Your Child Attends the Best Childcare Agency
It can be overwhelming trying to find the perfect childcare agency for your child. Fortunately, The Learning Experience can help! The Learning Experience is devoted to creating a safe and welcoming place for children to learn and grow. With qualified and highly-trained teachers, your child will receive a great educational experience. Find a TLE Center and learn more about what they have to offer you and your child.