Q & A About Child Care
You Deserve The Facts on Daycare
That's why we've prepared this information sheet. Here you'll find the answers to the questions parents, like you, ask most about child care. Rest assured that you can find quality child care for your family. It takes patience and hard work, absolutely, but it also takes knowledge. Your child is too precious to leave anything to chance.
Where do I begin to look for daycare?
You can begin with our Registry. In addition, more and more communities are offering resource and referral or Community Information Services that maintain a data base of child care providers and centres. It is always best for parents to check out the different types of daycare before they decide. Not all children are suited to one particular form of daycare.
What types of daycare are available?
There are five basic forms of child care.
Centre-based or group care
In-home (nanny) care
Relative care, and
No supplemental care where parents provide the care themselves.
Learn more about the different types of child care, the advantages and disadvantages of each form of care, and so much more in our exclusive Choosing Child Care Workbook Kit.
How can I tell good daycare from bad daycare?
Quality child care helps your child develop a strong mind, body and spirit through a variety of components. These include:
Group size and child/staff ratios
Health and nutrition
A well-developed program, and
Partnerships with other child care organizations and agencies.
A general knowledge of these components will help you to recognize quality care from that of poor child care. You can learn more about the components of quality child care visiting our Resource Centre or by ordering one of our Choosing Child Care Workbooks or Interview & Reference Checking Kits.
What questions should I ask a provider or daycare centre director?
A well-prepared list of questions is a must when selecting daycare. You'll want to know, among other things:
If the provider has any early childhood education (E.C.E.) or first aid training
What your child will be doing all day (see our Daycare Programming article in Library Files)
If you agree with the provider/centre's discipline practices, and most important,
If you are welcome to visit the home or centre unexpectedly.
A ready-to-use Interview Question Sheet and tips on how to interview for child care are available in our Choosing Child Care Workbook Kits or Interview & Reference Checking Kits.
Is it important to check references? How do I do that? What questions do I ask?
Checking the references of any provider, centre, or for that matter, agency you consider using, is an absolute must Under no circumstances should you leave your child with someone you have not thoroughly checked out. Phone calls, based on a list of questions specifically designed to learn more about the candidate's ability and background, are effective when combined with a police clearance and driver's license check.
You can learn more about criminal record checks in our Resource Centre. A prepared list of questions to ask a reference person (referee), can be found in our Workbook Kits and our Interview & Reference Checking Kits. As a note here, you should always get a minimum of three references from any caregiver, facility, or agency you consider hiring.
When choosing a centre or provider, is it best to go with my "gut feelings" instead of doing all that reference-checking?
Absolutely not! A study conducted by the Dayton Hudson Foundation for its Child Care Aware program, of parents' views on daycare found that parents who choose daycare by "instinct" and "gut reactions" often had bad experiences with child care or were currently dissatisfied with their daycare arrangements. Others told horror stories.
Does quality child care actually make a difference? Why should I be so concerned?
The importance of the preschool years cannot be overstated. Studies prove that indifferent or poor child care can actually stunt a child's intellectual and social development. Poor safety and hygiene practices can lead to injury and illness. Furthermore, poor child care arrangements also affect a parent's work performance, absenteeism and tardiness.
See our brochures, Keeping Child Care Safe and Advocating For Better Child Care for more information.
Don't daycare rules and regulations ensure my child safe, quality child care?
Unfortunately not! While rules and regulations provide for a minimum standard of care, inspections of licensed facilities are often spotty at best and enforcement takes time. In the case of unlicensed care, parents bear the sole responsibility of monitoring the care their child receives to ensure it remains safe and good.
child care online encourages all parents to monitor their child care arrangement consistently. Don't leave your choice of child care to chance.
To lean more check out our valuable workbooks, Monitoring Your Child Care Arrangements, and The Warning Signs of Poor Child Care, or visit us regularly for our Child Care Tip of the Week feature or subscribe to our Child Care Today Newsletter.
How can I improve the odds of finding quality care for my family?
Quality child care is no accident. Many organizations, agencies and government offices have studied the issue long and hard to learn what constitutes quality. Much of the information available today is the result of their efforts. But for that information to be of any value, parents, like you, must take the time to learn about daycare and not accept low-quality care, no matter how low the costs. After all, you certainly can't put a price tag on the well-being of your child or your peace of mind..
Visit our Resource Centre for more information.
What other things should I know about daycare?
Ensuring that your child receives quality daycare means being informed. Our:
publications our exclusive Workbook Kits and
Interview & Reference Checking Kits, along with our
Child Care Forms,
Child Care Today Newsletter, and
other publications, help you do that.
From Playground Safety to Planning Ahead For Problems in Daycare, and from Keeping Child Care Safe to Fitness Fun and The Magic of Art all of which can be found in the Resource Centre, we strive hard to give you the information you need to make a wise child care choice for your family.
Other ways to stay informed include visiting your local Family Resource Centre, joining local and/or national child care organizations, and subscribing to newsletters like Child Care Today.
At child care online, our goal is to "Strengthen child care one visitor at a time."
We are dedicated to millions of children and families who use child care in all its forms, and we are committed to bringing you only well-researched, quality and widely-accepted information on selecting quality child care, monitoring your child care arrangements, and, for caregivers, information on setting up a quality child care facility (see our publications Start & Run a Profitable Home Day Care, and Caregiver Aids: Business Forms for Caregivers and Parents along with other exclusive products.
Moreover, we don't want to see families hurt by poor child care, because, despite the fact that most child care providers and facilities are wonderful, problems occur. Some have deadly consequences. Thus our resolve to giving you the good, with our Caregiver of the Month Award, and the bad, with our link to The Kierra Harrison Foundation, in memory of Kierra Harrsson and the many (all too many) other young children who have been killed or injured in childcare.
PLEASE CHOOSE CHILD CARE WISELY.
MORE IMPORTANTLY, PLEASE MONITOR
YOUR CHILD CARE ARRANGEMENT TO
ENSURE IT REMAINS SAFE AND OF