How do I narrow down on the right childcare centre for my little one? What are the safety and COVID related measures I need to check for while looking for a centre for my child? Is there any checklist that looks at the basic sets of policies that need to be in place before you choose a preschool for your child? What is more important – a child’s safety or education? These are just some of the many questions, that parents ask themselves and others while starting their search for that ideal space to drop off their little one, while on their way to work or otherwise.
We live in really uncertain times what with the pandemic washing away 2 years of our child’s learning in school. And now, with things slowly turning back to normal, and a horde of daycare centres mushrooming all across the country, how then, can one decide on the one just suited for our little one? And is there a perfect childcare centre anyway?
To make things a little easier for you, we have put together a simple checklist of important points that need to be looked at when choosing the right preschool or childcare centre.
Safety and security for any parent is always a top priority and even more so in these times. A childcare centre that assures just that and more are always at the top of the list. And rightly so!
With the CDC putting down guidelines to ensure we stay always protected from the COVID virus, it is even more important for us to ensure that the same measures and more are followed by the centre we finally enroll our little ones in. We need to ask ourselves or rather the centre the following questions?
If a centre leaves no stone unturned when it comes to the safety of the child and has all its processes in place, then half your job is done isn’t it?
The government of India has also set down various strict but necessary standards which look at creating safe and reliable spaces for your child. From the use of child-safe, non-toxic toys and learning equipment, to the stringent yet necessary security policies and procedures in place, to childproofed areas, the list is comprehensive and extremely crucial to ensure safety. A good daycare would hence, also have its own health and safety policies and teams in place, so as to prevent any kind of accident.
A daycare centre is much more than just a place where children are supervised. In a time where a lot of emphasis is being laid on Early Childhood Education and in a day and age where parents are very keen to see their children grow into well-rounded individuals, ready to take on the world, creating a space where a child can explore and learn as he grows, is now, the talk of the hour. From well-structured
curriculums, dedicated and supervised learning spaces to trained and qualified staff that can help a child learn concepts through multiple ways, the creating of spaces that are conducive to learning go a long way.
An education, therefore, that looks at all aspects of a child’s development is what is required for any child to grow and learn! This is even more important for children who will be getting back into the learning systems at school after a long break or for the very first time.
According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the highest standard when it comes to child care and education, centres should have at least 35 square feet of indoor space per child. This gets us to look at adult to child ratios as well. The lower the ratio, the greater the supervision and of course a greater sense of relief for parents. This is of course proportionate also to the age of the child. Smaller children are required to have greater adult supervision as compared to older ones.
Another point to be noted, is the importance of trained teachers. Since your child is going to be spending a lot of her/his time under the care of teachers and daycare staff, it is of utmost importance that the adults that will be looking after them are skilled and trained, not only in the various modes of teaching but also in required safety procedures. From basic first aid training and pediatric CPR, to training in the case of a fire, to COVID safety measures, no stone must be left unturned when it comes to looking after your child.
When you walk into a childcare centre, the first instinct you get about the place is usually right. There is nothing like a mother’s instinct and if you feel that something isn’t right about the place, then it probably isn’t. If, however, on the other hand, the moment you walk into a place you are filled with a sense of warmth and happiness at the way things are run and feel that your child is indeed in safe hands, then it probably is the right place for your little one. Always trust your instincts!
At the end of the day, while there are a lot of factors that go into the making of a perfect daycare, dropping your child to daycare for the first time can sure be overwhelming and while it is a traumatic experience for your little one, it is an equally upsetting one for the parent.
To all those mothers and fathers out there who have spent sleepless nights worrying endlessly about finding the right place for their child, hang in there, it’s soon going to be OK!
With children out of school, physical distancing as the new norm, and children’s rights under threat, the new world order has “turned back the clock” on years of progress made on children’s well-being. However, it’s not all bad. As a human race, we’ve been built to adapt: we’ve seen a tipping point in technology-enabled education and the promise of a new education policy in our country.