You have always believed that a child care center should feel like an extended part of your family. After all, your child will spend many hours with their teachers as they mature from an infant to a preschooler. As you begin your search for the right program, use these tips to find an infant care center that emphasizes the goal of helping your child progress through each stage of development until they are ready to transition to regular school.
1. Consider the Program's History
When you plan for your child to attend a child care program for several years, you need to know that it will still be there when your child is ready to enter the pre-kindergarten classroom. Naturally, a center that has been operating for years gives you confidence, yet you should also check for other signs of longevity. For instance, a program that uses research-based practices is likely to continue to be in operation for a long time rather than one that uses the latest trends.
2. Look For Signs of a Nurturing Center
An excellent curriculum and beautiful classrooms only go so far. You also need to know that your child is in a nurturing environment where the teachers prioritize building relationships with the children in their classrooms. During your tour, watch for signs of a nurturing environment. For instance, the teachers in the infant care program should engage with the babies when they are awake by reading to them or playing gentle music. You should also see teachers asking older children open-ended questions to encourage language development, and you should always see children's work openly displayed throughout the building.
3. Inquire About Future Programs
Your baby may not be ready to read and write yet, but they will be sooner than you may think. When you meet with the child care center staff, ask to see a sample lesson plan from the pre-kindergarten program. Also, ask if you can observe the classroom activities for a few minutes. Being able to make sure that the programs designed for older children are aligned with your educational goals for your child helps you make the right decision.
Over the next few years, your child will rapidly progress from a helpless infant to an independent preschooler who loves learning. By keeping an eye on the future during your child care program selection, you can help surround them with loving support that nurtures their physical and intellectual development.