Growing Room offers the following tips for choosing the right early childhood education path for your child:
- Visit the school unannounced twice before making your decision.
- Spend time talking with school’s Director about your ideas and concerns about how childcare will impact your child. Ask for suggestions on making a smooth transition for your child.
- Visit your child’s new class and meet the teachers. Are they warm and loving with the children? Are the teachers speaking to the children in a positive, respectful manner? Do the teachers create a happy environment for the children? Are the teachers providing adequate supervision?
- If you are looking for infant care, ask if your child will have a consistent, primary caregiver.
- Are the classrooms and school clean and safe? Are there strict health and safety policies for diapering and hand washing? Does the school work with a health care professional who assists with staff training and monitoring?
- Review the early childhood curriculum. Is it appropriate for your child? Does it promote the child’s self-esteem? Will it prepare your child for Kindergarten?
- Review parent communication procedures. Does your child’s class have a parent communication board that tells you about upcoming events? Will you receive a daily note from the teacher telling you about the day (eating and sleeping included)? Does the school offer periodic parent-teacher conferences?
- Are the classroom child-to-staff ratios within or lower than the state-approved guidelines?
- Does the school have security screening at the front entrance as well as throughout the building?
- Are parents permitted access at all times?
- Does the school promote parent participation within the program? How?
After you’ve visited the school, speak with parents of children currently enrolled at the school. Ask them about their experiences, both positive and negative.