Research shows that high-quality early care is critical to children's learning and development, social skills and more. Fortunately, there are many high-quality child care options in Indiana — if you know where to look. We want to help you choose the best care for your child. Read on to discover five things to look for when seeking high-quality child care.
1) Proper Health & Safety Procedures
When choosing a care option, there’s nothing more important than your child’s safety. Asking about safety procedures is the first thing you should do when visiting a potential child care provider.
Make sure that members of the staff know CPR, first aid and safe sleep practices at the very least. This will give you peace of mind knowing your child will be cared for in case of an accident or medical emergency.
2) Low Child-to-Staff Ratio
Another indicator of high-quality child care is a low child-to-staff ratio. This means that for every adult staff member, there is an appropriate number of children.
You should always check to see how many adults work at the facility and how many children they care for. Look for providers with a low ratio to ensure your child gets personalized attention.
3) Open Door Policy
It’s no surprise that the best child care centers will have nothing to hide. They will be transparent and open to sharing more about their operating procedures. Ask to sit in (during appropriate times) or to stop by for visits. Ideal child care centers will be comfortable with this kind of transparency. They should also be open and upfront about their disciplinary policy.
As a parent, you have the right to know how your child will be disciplined. Don’t wait until after the fact to find out that you don’t agree with a program’s procedure. Instead, ask to see the policy in writing so everyone is on the same page before enrolling.
4) Wide Range of Activities
Take note of the toys, games and activities available to the children. This is one of the best ways to gauge the quality of care a center offers.
The materials offered should be high-quality and functional. They should also be age-appropriate for the children being cared for.
Look for the types of activities children are engaged in. Are there outdoor activities as well as indoor? Are they mentally stimulating? Physically stimulating? There should be a variety of each.
5) Enrolled in PATHS to Quality™
Most Indiana child care providers are enrolled in a voluntary ranking system called PATHS to Quality.
PATHS to Quality is a four-tier child care ranking system, with one being the lowest score and four the highest. Rankings are based on learning environments, accreditation and curriculum.
Find High-Quality Child Care Today
At Brighter Futures Indiana, our goal is to help pair you with the best care option for your family. We understand that every child is unique and that their care should be too.
Check out this Child Care Finder tool to look through options and tailor your search results to best suit your needs. Looking for more help? Our staff of child care experts would be happy to talk through available options with you. Please call us at 1-800-299-1627 Monday through Friday.