At Arts In Motion Performing Arts Childcare Centre, we passionately embrace our responsibility to work in partnership with families in developing the young minds and bodies that join us on their journey through childcare, early childhood development and beyond. We believe that as a parent, choosing your childcare centre is one of the most important decisions you make during these formative years. We also know that it’s not always easy on your heart to think about leaving your most precious being in the care of others. Here are a few things to consider when choosing your childcare + early childhood education centre.
Step #1. Dream It + Write It Down
Before you tour a facility, take some time to think about what your family wants and needs in a childcare centre. Maybe you’re thinking about Kindergarten-readiness or maybe social and emotional development is more of a priority. You can even leave space for your questions, concerns, and fears. This is a big moment for your family, and whatever you’re feeling is 100% valid.
During the tour, this list can help you stay focused on what’s most important. You can even use it as a conversation guide! Make sure the educators at the centre can answer your questions, or point you to resources that can.
Step #2. There Is Never A Bad Question
Pay attention and don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions about the center’s safety practices, policies and program plan. For example, how will they make sure your child is accounted for throughout the day? Do they have clear policies to make sure only approved adults can come in? What does the day look like from a programming perspective?
The best child care centres pay attention to every detail – big and small. Wherever you choose to to partner, you should be confident that your child is in the best hands, no matter what happens.
Step #3. Get On Their Level—Literally!
A high quality early childhood education classroom is built from the ground up with children in mind. So put yourself in their shoes! When you look around the classroom, imagine how it would look from their perspective. Are there plenty of books and toys within easy reach? Are there accessible bathrooms, and creative play centres that feel uniquely specialized and something more than what you could provide in your home?
At this age, your child’s mind is growing faster than it ever will in their whole life! Every second of learning counts. That’s why you want to look for classrooms full of games, toys, creative artistic centres and rich experiences to stimulate learning and development from all facets of growth.
Step #4. Look For Educators Who Love What They Do
Great educators love what they do and have a natural ability to connect with every child in their care. Is your centre hiring the best? You can find out by watching them in action. Are they ready to get their hands dirty with crayons and glue sticks? Can they jump from reading a story to the whole class to helping a child find their stuffie in a single bound?
The best early childhood educators are natural born leaders. At Arts In Motion, we believe that finding educators who align with our core values and beliefs is the best way to ensure children love going to school every day!
Step #5. Look For The Licensed Seal Of Approval
You can think of a Licensed Facility as a big gold star in the world of early childhood education. When a centre is licensed, you know they are meeting the highest standard of care and education. Government licensed centres are evaluated by a trusted outside agency in everything from health and safety to teacher certifications, ratio requirements, nutrition guidelines and more.
Step #6. Go With Your Gut (And Your Heart!)
Did you feel listened to and understood? Was the centre warm and welcoming? Did it feel like the right place for your child to grow and thrive? If you’re not sure, go back for a second visit or try another! The right center will want you to have everything you need to make the right decision for this very important milestone of life.