Choosing Quality Child Care
Thursday, March 14th
1. Zero to Three website: www.zerotothree.org
2. Is This the Right Place for My Child?
38 Research-Based Indicators of High-Quality Child Care
3. Choosing High-Quality Child Care for a Child with Special Needs
Choosing Child Care:
know your own child's temperament, likes and dislikes, health, interests, and behavior. For a baby under 1 year old, give careful attention to your child's need to be nurtured and held, any special health needs, and the type of person you want to care for your child during the first year of life. For an older child, developing play and learning styles, interaction with other kids, intellectual curiosity, and need for individualized attention should be considered. The family's own values and emotional needs also come into play. Some parents are overly anxious about leaving their very young child with one person, while others prefer this individual care. But by age 3 or 4, it's good for kids to have at least some exposure to other kids and participate in a structured program like preschool or daycare. Before choosing a care setting, you should be aware of the options available and consider cost, location, and reputation
Types of Child Care:
Licensing Regulations: A license means that the provider has met the State’s minimum standards for care.
Child Care Centers
Child care centers provide full or part-time child care in a group setting with planned activities. Most often licensed by the state, they must meet minimal health, safety, and staffing requirements.
Children are grouped together by age, with activities planned especially for that age level. Each classroom has materials and activities which support a planned curriculum.
There is usually a range of experience and education among the staff. All staff who have contact with the children are subject to a background check for criminal activitiy. Centers provide substitutes during staff absences or vacations who also submit to background checks.
Family Child Care Homes
Family child care is provided for children in the home of the caregiver. Usually, family child care providers are parents themselves. In Illinois, family child care providers who care for more than three children, including their own, are required to be licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
Family child care offers a blending of ages. Each child has the opportunity to relate to a few other children of different ages - some younger and some older.
A family child care provider may often times be in your neighborhood and may be able to make more flexible arrangements than a child care center. Some providers are available to care for children whose parent work at night or on weekends when most centers are not open.
Preschools (or nursery schools) offer group programs for primarily three to five year old children for part of the day on specified days of the week. Most follow the school calendar and do not operate during school holidays, vacations, snow days, or summer months.
Preschools can be licensed by DCFS under the same regulations as day care centers.
The Head Start program (for children ages three to five) and Early Head Start program (for pregnant women, infants, and toddlers) promote school readiness for children in low-income families by providing comprehensive educational, health, nutritional, and social services. Parents play a large role in the programs, both as primary educators of their children and as participants in administering the programs locally. Both programs provide pre-literacy and literacy experiences in a multi-cultural environment. Parents are also provided social services, including...
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