If you have ever been a parent who works a busy schedule then you have obviously at some point asked yourself “How do I find a good daycare?”. Like most adults in today’s day and age you probably even Googled the question. The truth is there is no simple answer to this question and you aren’t going to find any answers by searching online, only opinions. If you would like an informed opinion from someone who is a mother of three, has 11 years experience working in daycare, and owns her own Family Daycare then keep on reading.
A good daycare starts with an owner who has a love for teaching young children. Someone who loves it so much that they have taken the time to actually earn a degree or attend college for the Early Childhood Education field. In my 11 years experience I have seen more random people hired off the street with not even a background in working with children than I would care to mention. When this happens your children often do not want to be left at daycare or they are bored at daycare because they have hired babysitters who are too busy texting or Facebooking on their phones rather than doing activities and inspiring creativity and knowledge in your child. It does not matter that you are paying top dollar for quality care that you were promised when you agreed to become a client. You will find that your child is doing nothing constructive and you are as an old boss of mine put it “A paying family”.
When you choose a daycare based on what you are told in a walk through you are making a big mistake.You must ask personal questions and ask to see credentials. Ask about staff turn over rate. This is how often people are hired and end up quitting. If you see this taking place a lot then please know that something is very wrong where your child is attending and you need to take steps to place them in care somewhere else. Keep in mind that anyone can open a daycare if they have the money. They do not have to have a love for children or a passion for teaching. In fact, more often than not you will find daycares who are nothing more than a money mill for the owner and they do not care what lies they have to tell you in order to get you to enroll. They even go as far as to warn employees of parents suggested pickup times to have everything looking smooth by the time you arrive. This happens more than you will ever know because often times children are very young and can not talk to you about things they do not understand and can not complain if they do not know what they are missing out on.
Questions to ask when interviewing potential daycares:
#1: Are you accredited?
#2: Have you ever been on a provisional license? (if they admit a yes or act uneasy STEER CLEAR! provisional licenses are given to daycares who have violations that are so bad they are just steps away from having their license revoked.)
#3: What are the requirements of training and or experience for the staff you hire here?
#4: Question for Director: Do you yourself have a degree in Early Childhood?
If you get a no to #4 do not let them BS you into what a good center they are. Know that a money mill is in progress especially if folks are hired who have no formal training. If a center is not accredited then they probably do not meet accreditation requirements.
Above all, staff should be warm and welcoming no matter what time of day, whether in person or on the phone. If you detect that this is not the case then you can imagine what kinds of attitudes and conversations your children are being exposed to when you are not around. Also, any daycare that is unwilling for you to drop by whenever you want is not a good one, they are hiding something.
Last to remember, ask yourself “How easy was it for you to walk into the daycare?” Did you walk into an office, lobby, classroom? Was the door locked? Was there a buzzer? Did you see anyone when you walked in? Make absolute sure you know how secure your child is in a place. If it is easy to just walk in with no one in a designated lobby or office area this is a Huge Red Flag! Anyone could go in pick up a child and walk out.
My next article will be about something a little different Family Childcare. Yes it’s true you do have an alternative to placing your child in an overcrowded and poorly staffed Daycare Center! Family Childcare is a completely different type of child care offered with low adult- child ratio, less germ exposure, one on one curriculum, and so much more. I should know, after all I quit working in daycare centers to open my own Family Child Care home and it is the best decision I have ever made.