While searching for a daycare your approach would be certainly like that of a job hunt. You must be systematic, well prepared and should start your search as early as before six months from the time you need it, and trust me, it won't be too early, as in large cities daycare slots get loaded quicker than the subway cars in pick hours.
After getting a preferable daycare center or home daycare certain measures are to be taken by you to get assured that it's the center you wish to stick with in future. The right process of assessing a good daycare centre for your baby is mentioned below:
Firstly: Know your requirements
The foremost important thing for you is to decide your own requirements.
Is a daycare center near your work place is what you want? Or a daycare close to your residence will be preferable for you? Are you searching for a centre where your baby will be with other kids like a daycare center, or you want him to be with a few kids only (like in a home daycare)?
Take a note of all these points before searching in related sites so that you can easily refer to this list whenever required.
Secondly: Carry out a prior research
Inquire around you in order to get the best known daycares. In your search for a daycare center, friends and family can be a great help and their personal references are the best one for you.
Know from any expert. You can get the contact details of your local childcare resources and other referral agencies from the Child Care Aware hotline number (800-424-2246).They will further refer you to other licensed centers and local home daycares.
In fact, it's better if you request for a list of your nearby accredited centers. In case you get one from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) or the National Association of Family Child Care (NAFCC), you must consider yourself lucky. Well, accreditation is not what only matters- be sure that the selection for your child should be the best one.
Visit different online sites. For any kind of guidelines and contact you can visit websites of NAEYC and NAFCC. Moreover, the NAEYC comes with an online searchable database of certified daycare centers. In order to find out the ranks of a particular daycare, you can read the reviews of other parents on websites like Yelp.
Search for daycares in phone book. Online phonebooks like the Yellow Pages contain a record of the local home daycares and childcares. Don't worry if you are a new resident of your locality, just get a printed copy of the list and contact the preferable ones.
Thirdly: Go and discuss
Initially, you can inquire about some basic questions over phone (such as the cost and age limit), but unless you visit the center and meet their director and staffs, you won't possibly get the real picture of that particular daycare.
While discussing enquire the daycare center directors and caregivers about various basic information about time schedule, fees, vacation and child rearing issues regarding discipline, sleeping and feeding of child. Take detailed information regarding the center's whole day's activities and other policies. Notice the approach and attitude of the director or other staffs carefully and don't ignore the call of your mind.
In the end, selecting daycare is entirely your personal decision. The checklists provided by us definitely highlights the specifics, yet being parents you would certainly look for a cozy, clean and safe daycare provided with experienced, well-paid teachers satisfied with their job. As you know, children desire strong relations with their caretakers and thus inconsistent teachers will not work for your kid.
Be careful towards the caregiver-child ratios and the number of students present in the classroom.
In the words of the director of NAEYC accreditation services, Stephanie Glowacki, "It's easier to give one-on-one attention and be responsive when there are fewer kids in a room,"
Always be careful while judging the daycare members ratio and put them into a reality test because an initially ideal looking 1;3 caregiver-baby ratio is useless where the toddlers are mostly kept in the baby's room, or infant caregivers need to assist in caring of the toddlers or if any baby is to be treated specially.
Fourthly: Verify the given references
It's known that positive words are very strong means of approval. Yet, if you find a daycare having good reputation, then collect information from other parents regarding its specialty they are rushing for.
Gather a list of past and present references from each considerable daycare and immediately contact them. It's quite possible you being a little biased (for you will hardly get the names of dissatisfied peoples from the centers), thus the most convincing way is to know the views of other parents about it.
After calling the parents don't put straight forward questions (mustn't ask whether they are fond of this center- rather you may ask about things that they think good or dislike about it). Next option to get more valid information is to call the state's Better Business Bureau in order to check if complaints have been filed against that center or staffs.
Fifthly: Examine based on child's response
Later, have a visit to the center along with your kid. Notice the interactions between your child and the caregiver and whether he is feeling at ease with the environment of that center.
Sixthly: Be in the waiting list
Suppose, you don't get a seat in your desired daycare don't be disheartened. By getting in the waiting list ensure your chance of entry into it in future- though it may not be exactly when you require it. Moreover, don't forget to ask for recommendations from the daycare for other such places.