Upon the birth of my first child Grant I was a mess for weeks scrambling, literally, at the last minute attempting to arrange and interview child care centers and preschools. My poor son, at the ripe age of five weeks with a neurotic mother, scared sick about leaving her child with anyone else but his parents. Even the sole time my mother watched Grant so that The Chad and I could attend a work dinner was sheer horror for me. I was breastfeeding and it was time away from my baby.
However, my fears were lessened as I began to research schools and childcare centers. I read articles online about credentials the centers had yielded, affiliations, complaints and where to find those complaints (which will vary by state), I researched whether they were part of a food program, the security measures they had to keep my children safe from predators and while in their care, and the staff to children ratio.
Who would have dreamed that childcare considerations were so in-depth, labor intensive, and quite frankly a science?
I had no idea. In fact when I first began seeking out childcare for Grant I went off of the brand name centers that were familiar by sound. Later I found I was unimpressed, annoyed, and rather disdained by the level of service these “brand name” childcare and preschool centers offered. The treatment was comparable to walking onto the sales lot of an auto dealership, vultures, waiting to pluck at their prey when they are most vulnerable, pushing for a “tour” based on their schedule and not yours, more concerned with enrollment and cash flow than the needs of my child and myself. One center had the audacity to advise me that they would not let me visit the center unless I had an appointment, needless to say I felt this organization had something to hide if I could not just drop in as I felt my schedule allowed, they were discounted and removed from consideration.
My research and extensive notations about the various facilities soon became a bullet point checklist:
- Accreditation – was the school accredited in the state, nation, how were they officially recognized as a facility and learning institution.
- Safety – was the facility safe for my child (now children with the twins), keypad entry, camera’s viewing the classrooms, licensed facilitators and caregivers.
- Convenience – was the center convenient to my hours, schedule, location, were theyÂ accommodatingÂ to my needs and those of my children.
- Curriculum – did the center provide a curriculum of learning and or child interaction no matter the age to aid in the development of my child.
- Cost – the nitty-gritty is that cost is a huge factor in choosing a childcare and or preschool. Even if the cost is low, do the other bullets add up in the equation regarding curriculum or learning, safety, and accreditation, the same can also be said for the higher priced “brand name” and or boutique childcare centers.
- Happiness- is my child happy here, am I happy they are here, do the staff interact with my child in a fun and loving fashion, yet educational and assertive to establish healthy boundaries.
While each parent’s decision in choosing a childcare facility and or preschool may vary, the fact of the matter lies in that as parents we choose what is best for our child, children, and our families. Each family varies with their needs, whether they be a special needs learner, a child with allergies, and or our children need a level of interaction to stimulate their learning and childhood experience, the choice in a childcare facility is not one to be made hastily.
Be sure to weigh in on all of the factors when choosing a childcare center, and furthermore, rely on your instincts. While the consideration may soundÂ hookyÂ or even mystical in nature, a parent has a form of sixth sense when considering care, welfare, and well-being of our children. Choose a facility that will work with you, your family and especially your child. For more information, visit your local department of health services to research a childcare facility and their operations and visit Primrose Schools to read about the various options to weigh whenÂ researchingÂ a childcare facility.What are some considerations you look to when choosing a childcare facility? What sticks out as a sore thumb or red-flag in your decisioning?