What to Look for in a Daycare or After School Program

You are a busy parent, juggling work and caring for your child. Whether by choice or circumstance, both you and your spouse (or significant other) work outside the home. With you both absent during the day, you must find someone to supervise your little one.

Ideally, it would be nice for a nearby relative or a neighbor to watch him or her. Unfortunately, you don’t have that luxury and must leave him or her at a daycare facility.

You don’t want to leave your child all day at any daycare. Similarly, if your child is older, you’ll need a quality after school program because you can’t get off work in time to pick them up from school.

What things should you look for in a daycare or after school program?

Here are some characteristics of a quality daycare and after school program:

Daycare Program

Encourages Positive Relationships

A good daycare will encourage the individuality of each child and build up each child’s self-worth. The teachers strive to make every child feel included, safe and comfortable. The children also are encouraged to get along with one another.

The teachers will engage in positive, friendly conversations, recognize children’s accomplishments, and effectively resolve conflicts between children.

The staff and administration will also make strives to establish quality, consistent interaction and communication with each family as well as be an active participant in the community through partnering with other child care and child health organizations.

Has an Established, Solid Curriculum

The program implements a curriculum that aligns with the goals the daycare has for the children. A good curriculum will be age appropriate and emphasize the development and learning in the areas of emotional, social, language, physical and cognitive development.

A good curriculum will mix learning and play, spark the child’s interest and curiosity, develop reasoning, problem-solving, language and teamwork skills, is interactive and addresses all aspects of child development.

Quality Teaching by Certified Teachers

The daycare features multiple learning styles tailored to each child for maximum learning as well as adequate supervision. Teachers balance learning with play as well as individual and group work.

Teachers are attentive to each student and the student to teacher ratio is in state compliance.

The teaching staff will have specialized knowledge and experience in early child development and have appropriate credentials and degrees. The program itself should foster ongoing professional development of its staff.

Provide Assessment of Child Progress

The program will provide ongoing assessments of each child’s needs and progress. A personalized, education plan will be tailored to each student based on the assessment outcomes. The staff will regularly meet with and communicate with parents about their child’s progress.

A Safe Physical Environment

Both the indoor classrooms and outside playground areas are safe, clean and adequately maintained. First-aid kits, fire alarms, fire extinguishers, fences around the playground, sanitized toys and furnishings, handwashing sinks and proper supervision are all necessary.

Staff should be CPR certified and a pediatric nurse should be on-site. There should also be procedures in place that outline when children are too sick to attend and what happens when a child must leave early due to sickness.

Has Solid Leadership and is Well-Managed

A reputable daycare will be regulated and in compliance with the state, enforces policies and procedures that ensure a stable staff, fiscal responsibility, program management, child and staff safety and has a commitment to provide a high-quality experience.

After School Program

A quality afterschool program will have many of the same characteristics as a good daycare program, including a healthy and safe environment, small group sizes and child to adult ratio, is welcoming of students and their families, has trained, certified instructors, and standard emergency and operational procedures.

An additional consideration for an afterschool program is the access to technology and a safe, quiet environment for kids to do their homework.

It is important to select a quality daycare or after school program that you can trust with watching your child. Both programs should have a physically and emotionally safe environment, certified, experience teachers, be in full state compliance and have a curriculum that focuses on developing the overall child.

At Smart Start Academy, parents know they are leaving their children in good hands due to our quality staff, safe facilities and fun learning environment.

For additional information about our daycare or after school program or to enroll your child in one of our programs, contact us today.

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