Finding quality childcare is something that many of us struggle with. It’s so important to feel good about the choice you make and to be able to work or attend school without worrying.
What do you look for when choosing childcare? How do you go about finding information?
First, look for places in your area and ask friends and family for recommendations. Then, look online at www.scchildcare.org. You can search for child care by zip code and find out information about the licensing type. Also, daycare centers that accept ABC vouchers have been given a “grade.” Although a grade of “C” does indicate adequate care, we recommend choosing a center with an “A” or “B.” You can find out the details of what each grade means at http://www.scchildcare.org/parents/what-is-abc-quality.aspx
When you have a list of places you’d like to learn more about, think about what you’d like to see and what you definitely don’t want to see when you visit. Obviously, cleanliness is important. You may not want to see a TV on in every room, or hear completely quiet classrooms. You might want to see art projects on the walls, or pictures of smiling children.
When you’re ready to visit, I recommend doing a pop-over. Just visit unexpectedly, during a non-busy time. Not during drop off or pick up, or between the hours of 11-3. I know that doesn’t leave much time, but I think it’s worth getting a first impression. Just say something like “oh, I was just in the area and have been thinking about this place, is there someone I can speak to?” They may offer to show you around on the spot, or they may ask to you make an appointment for a tour. Either is valid, in my view, as long as they are welcoming and excited to have you look around.
When you are given a tour, ask what kinds of activities are planned for the children? How many children are in each class? Are lunch and snacks provided? Do parents send blankets for nap time? Anything you can think of is a great question.
You can find a checklist of what to look for here. http://www.scchildcare.org/media/34616/Parent-Checklist_Revised_OCT_27_2014.pdf
Many children that receive Bright Start services may qualify for ABC Special Needs Vouchers – these vouchers provide for care in a participating child care center or at home through the Friend, Family, or Neighbor program.
Your EI can help you apply. Your Ei may also have experience visiting daycares in your area and can possibly recommend a place that will be a good fit for your child.
We hope you find the perfect place!
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