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Child Care Event: October 4th, 2008
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Selecting a Child Care Provider
Are you a new parent looking for a child care provider? Do you know how to find your own recognized Child Care Provider? Use these criteria to find a provider for your little one!

Selecting a child care provider can be an overwhelming process for parents. It may be the first time parents are leaving their child with a stranger. The first five years of a child's development are crucial. How do you begin to choose someone you trust your child with? What should you be on the lookout for as you begin your search?

To select this year's recognized child care providers, Thirteen used a set of criteria that we recommend for parents to use as well! Using our checklist of the "Elements of Quality Child Care," we hope that you too can find your own recognized Child Care Provider!
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Selecting a Child Care Provider
Before you begin the process of searching for your child's provider, parents need to figure out their own priorities for child care. Here are some things to consider that may ultimately make or break a deal.
  • What days and hours of care do you require?
  • Which location would you prefer the care to be close to? Home, school or work?
  • What is the best type of care for your child and family? (group setting or family setting?)
  • What fees can you afford?
  • Are you eligible for a government child care subsidy?
  • What qualifications do you want your child care provider to have?
  • Do you want your child care provider to be a member of any child care organizations or support groups?
  • Do you want your child care provider to be continuously upgrading himself or herself by participating in child related training or workshops?
  • What guidance/discipline methods do you and your child prefer?
Environment
A suitable child care environment is crucial to a child's wellbeing. From room ambiance to health safety, a soothing and comfortable child care environment should not be overlooked. Here are some important environmental factors to consider:
  • Space
    • How is the room arranged? Are the spaces neatly divided into play area, work area, and exercise/physical movement area?
    • Are the floors and surfaces clean or are there spills/dirt that haven't been cleaned up?
    • Is there an outdoor play area? Is it clean or dirt-filled?
  • Health
    • Is there soap in the bathroom? Is it easily accessible for children? Are dirty diapers put into a separate bag and thrown away?
    • Are there good health and safety displays?
    • What kind of food is prepared for the children each day? Does it include vegetables, protein, and grains?
    • Does the provider have health files on each child, to indicate allergies and other health issues?
  • Furnishings
    • Are there little tables and chairs for children to do projects at?
    • Is there furniture for the children to relax or nap at?
  • Ambiance
    • Are there colorful displays on the walls? Are the posters on the walls neatly distributed?

    • Is there enough lighting? Is it soothing lighting that will be easy on your child's eyes?

    • Is the atmosphere calm?

Education
A child soaks up knowledge like a sponge during the first few years of development. A child care provider should be able and willing to educate your child through a variety of ways, whether it is through verbal communication or hands-on activities.
  • Educational Activities
    • Do you see the child care provider talking to the children and reading stories to them on a regular basis?
    • Are there a large variety of activities for the children to participate in? Does your child care provider use hands-on arts and crafts activities to stimulate children's artistic development? Does your child care provider also explore scientific and health-related topics with the children?
    • Is there a time set aside for exercising?
  • Educational Materials
    • Are there books on display for children to read?
    • Are there arts and crafts materials such as markers, crayons, construction paper, glue etc.?
    • Are there board games and puzzles for the children to play with?
  • Events and fieldtrips
    • Does your child care provider take the children on fieldtrips to the park and the library?
    • Are there other outdoor activities for the children to participate in?
  • Diversity
    • Is there a wide range of age and racial diversity?
    • Does the provider teach diversity? Are the books racially diverse?
Character
Make sure your child care provider is someone you would want to be taking care of your child. Here are some characteristics to look for in a child care provider:
  • Is the provider warm, energetic, sensitive, confident, and patient?
  • Does the provider have a sense of humor?
  • Is the provider responsive to your concerns?
  • Is the provider confidential?
  • Is the provider organized?
The Provider and You
While your child's child care provider may spend the majority of the day with your child, a good rapport between you and your child care provider is extremely important.
  • Does the provider's child-rearing philosophy match your philosophy, particularly in areas such as discipline, health, and education?
  • Is there good communication between you and the provider? Do you know what the provider's daily schedule is?
  • Does the provider have permission slips for fieldtrips and outings?
  • Do you like your provider?
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