Daycare Centres

How Does Your Daycare Measure Up?

There are several type of daycare centres available and our choice is based on several reasons. Could be the price, the location, the hours of operation, the age of your child or the type of facility you feel is best for your child.

Which Daycare Centre for Your Child?

Some daycare centres are large and employ a number of caregivers. They are usually located in a non-residential building such as a community centre, your workplace, a church hall. They may not take babies and are structured for preschoolers and after school care.

There are family daycares where there are a smaller number of children and may accept children of all ages. It is usually in the caregiver's home and operated by one person.

No matter which type of facility you have chosen for your child, you would still have the same expectations. Here are some points to consider when making a decision to enroll or to evaluate where your child currently attends.

Points to consider when choosing a daycare centre for your child...

  • What is the ratio of children to the number of caregivers?
  • Do they take in extra children that you don't know about and will exceed an acceptable ratio?
  • Do they have alternate caregivers to substitute when the regular caregiver(s) is ill or on vacation?
  • Are the daycare fees within an acceptable industry standard?
  • What kind of training or experience do the caregivers have? (early childhood education, first aid, CPR, children of their own)
  • How many years have they been in business?
  • What is their policy on who drops off or picks up your child?
  • Do their hours of operation coincide with your hours of work?
  • Do they have a late pickup policy?
  • Are they closed on holidays or do they shut down for vacation?
  • Do their rates rise during summer holidays?
  • Have they been certified by local authorities or government agencies?
  • Do they provide meals or snacks?
  • What is their policy on discipline?
  • Do they go out on special outings? If so, what is their transportation method, does it cost extra for field trips?
  • Do they have an activity schedule?
  • What do they have to entertain the children indoors and outdoors? (equipment, materials, toys)
  • What is their policy when your child takes ill? Do they call you to pick up the child? Will they accept your child during a recuperation period?
  • What type of authorization do they require to administer medicine?
  • Does the facility adhere to health and safety standards? (fire extinguishers, fire exits, clean rooms, washing toys at the end of the day, safe toys and equipment)
  • I'm sure there are more than the above-mentioned questions you could ask your caregiver, but I think I have covered the main ones. There will be other factors that will influence your decision. It may just be a gut feeling. Does this person make you feel comfortable.

    Maybe you have a friend or neighbour who have children that attend the daycare. Word of mouth certainly helps.

    After all, you are entrusting a person to take care of your child and you have the right to be very selective on who will do this for you.

    by Maureen Fleury

    Maureen Fleury is a Contributing Editor for Working Mothers

    This article was reprinted with permission from author. Copyright 1999.

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