The purpose of this article is to provide parents actively seeking high-quality child care a resource to educate them on what to look for. It can be a difficult choice making it mandatory to be able to make an informed decision and not only trust your gut impressions. A data-driven choice will always yield a better outcome.
What is High-Quality Child Care?
I will limit this discussion to the core components that a high-quality child care provider should possess. Following that, I will introduce a checklist that can be used to support you in comparing the results of your fact-finding mission across the institutions you are considering in making your decision.
1. Teacher Workforce Stability and Credentials
2. Administration Leadership Qualities
3. Is the Curriculum Age-Appropriate?
4. Includes Thorough family engagement?
5. Includes Continuous Process Improvement?
6. Supported by a Sustainable Funding Model? This checklist will provide a more granular set of criteria and act as a report card for each child care provider.
What are You Looking for Beyond the Data?
Your intuition, logic, and reason factor into this decision as well. I would reach out to trusted family and friends to get their opinion and recommendations about quality child care facilities in building a short list of which ones to visit. Then, I would take a cursory look at the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website to see if any complaints have been lodged against them in narrowing the list down even further. Finally, interview some families that use the child care centers on your short list and find out their impressions, good and bad. You might reveal some hidden concerns that data cannot detect.
NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) can help as well.