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Quality Child Care

By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved.

As a parent you would want your child to have the highest quality childcare. This does not necessarily mean spending more money. The definition of quality childcare varies from parent to parent. Every individual has his/her own thoughts on what constitutes quality childcare. There are a few basic facilities, however, that are essential for any childcare program.

These include:

The list of qualities to look for in a childcare program can be endless. The key is to develop a set of priorities that you think is important for the growth of your child. Remember, no childcare program would be perfect. Each childcare center or individual would also have their own beliefs on how to interact with children and ensure their proper growth.

Do considerable research while selecting a childcare center or individual. Sort out the ones that meet most of your requirements. Inspect the childcare facility carefully and set up an interview with childcare providers. At the same time be prepared to be interviewed by the provider. This in fact, is a good sign and shows that the childcare center also screens families. Most importantly, check the provider's references. This is extremely crucial. These are your children, ensure that you are entrusting them to someone who will love and teach them and keep them safe.

Check whether the childcare center or provider is listed with the state childcare agency. Most states require that childcare facilities be listed with them if they provide care to children unrelated to them. Besides, such facilities undergo a background check and have to pass an inspection of the childcare center or home. This does not automatically suggest that the facility is of high quality; nevertheless, it at least ensures the availability of basic facilities in the center.

Finally, you should make it a point to inspect the childcare center frequently. This does not mean barging in and looking out for the minutest of violations. It is important, however, to see whether childcare providers interact with your child, how many children are handled by a single provider, and how well does your child respond. Besides, you should also ensure that the facilities are maintained and the place is kept clean and safe. Pay attention to all of the little things and don't hesitate to discuss any concerns with your provider. At the same time, your provider will greatly appreciate you letting her know when she's doing a great job.

Parents as well as childcare providers have to work towards giving a child quality childcare that he/she deserves. The key to making this association a success lies in proper and regular communication.

Copyright 2001, 2004. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article in whole or in part without written or verbal permission is strictly prohibited. For information about reprinting this article, contact the copyright owner: Vanessa Rasmussen, Ph.D, Starting a Day Care Center,