Parents want their children to have the best, and we make sure we provide that to our families. But new parents, or those who have yet to find a childcare provider, can struggle knowing where their child will receive the quality care they deserve.
In this article, we provide some helpful information that parents can refer to in their search for the right childcare provider for their child. These are standards we review and implement daily to provide a program that’s affordable, attentive, and gives first-rate care.
A great place for parents to begin their search is with certification. By law, a childcare provider that is Head Start-certified must meet a certain level of standards that guarantee affordable, attentive, first-rate care. As a Head Start-certified childcare provider, Guardian Angel offers hearing, vision, and dental screenings for children, in addition to evaluations that determine a child’s social development. These evaluations ensure that children are healthy and thriving, and if not, further care is provided to address those areas of concern in the form of a referral from one of the service providers like SafeSight, who partners with Guardian Angel to provide vision screenings.
These services occur early in the school year and it allows children to be set up for success by remedying any issues they may be experiencing, such as getting them glasses if they’re having difficulty seeing the board. Director of Childcare Tricia Gooden says, “It’s basically providing all of the services so when they get to kindergarten they’re ready to go. That’s what it’s all about.”
Other certifications parents should consider are licensing to operate and accreditation – a distinction that makes the difference between a babysitter and an educator. Another important quality of a childcare provider is the kindergarten-ready rate, which is a great indication of the level of priority placed on early childhood development. Guardian Angel classrooms employ accredited teachers and have maintained a 100-percent kindergarten-ready rate for years.
Communication is another excellent indication of a childcare provider’s level of attentiveness when it comes to the level of care they provide. Head Start requires four points of contact between parents and teachers throughout the year. A year-round childcare provider, Guardian Angel offers two parent-teacher conferences and two home visits, which parents can elect to take place in school settings. Communication is ongoing between teachers and parents, but there are these four perfect opportunities for them to discuss any specific questions or concerns.
Tricia Gooden speaks to the significance of this open dialogue between parents and teachers:
“Relationship-building is essential. It’s a hard pill to swallow for parents to hear that their child may have some developmental delays and it can be difficult for teachers to feel comfortable having those conversations with parents. But if parents and teachers have established a relationship and are talking on a regular basis, it makes it much easier to handle these sensitive conversations.”
By effectively detecting any developmental issues, children can have those issues addressed before they begin school and can even be phased out of needing an IEP.
Lastly, and perhaps most simply, parents should use their intuition to determine if a childcare provider is a good fit for them. Going into that environment and being perceptive about the way teachers interact with young children is an easy, yet telling the way of doing that. Paying attention to how a classroom looks and the way teachers communicate with the kid can give parents a good idea of how their child will fare.
For more information about Head Start, visit the YWCA’s website.