Features of a Good Quality Childcare Centre
A lot is said within the industry about providing a quality childcare service, but perhaps it is a good time to think about what that really means? As childcare providers, we need to take a two-pronged approach: we need to provide high-quality childcare and we need to ensure that parents understand why it’s important to their children.
So, what makes for good childcare service?
Safe and healthy
Number 1 on everyone’s list is that it has to be safe and healthy. Solid procedures must be in place from the very first day, to check regularly for any hazards, inside and outside. Clear health policies must be implemented to ensure that ill children are not in care and that staff understand what to do if a child becomes ill or is injured while in care. Proper accredited first aid training must be attended by all staff and certification updated regularly.
Appropriate group sizes and teacher-child ratios
At a minimum, all centres need to meet state and local requirements for group size and ratios. After that, it’s up to you to decide for yourself if these minimums allow you to provide a high standard of care.
All staff members are properly qualified
Again, staff must meet the minimum requirements, but you can strive to be an employer-of-choice, attracting and retaining highly-qualified staff members. While pay is one aspect of getting and keeping the right calibre of staff, it is only one component. By paying staff planning time is one way you can show your staff that you and the parents, appreciate and respect their work.
- Demonstrate that schedule and activities are developmentally appropriateChildren have a daily routine that allows for indoor and outdoor play as well as individual, small group, and large group activities. Children are engaged in hands-on, open-ended learning activities, rather than sitting at tables doing structured closed activities.
Other elements of a good child care service
The other components are a little tougher to identify. Does the classroom look organised and appealing? Is the classroom clean…and are the children reasonably clean (noses wiped, hands washed, etc.)? Are educators interacting with children by bending over to talk with them rather than standing over them or calling out from across the room? Do educators and children talk to each other and to their peers with respect? Overall, how does it feel? It’s important to take a step back from time to time and try and see your centre through the eyes of your parents, a teacher and a child.
In helping parents to understand the components of providing a high service of child care, and how your program provides such care, you can be more assured that they will enroll their child in your service, keep their child there as long as possible, and refer their friends to you.