What to Look for in Quality Child Care: Infants | Celebree School

celebree_20In the first of the three-part series, “What to Look for in Quality Child Care”, Celebree Learning Centers discusses what is most important for the care of your infant as to best encourage healthy cognitive and physical growth.

The process of looking into a child care program for your infant, especially as a first-time mom or dad, can be overwhelming to say the least. There are certain things you’ll want to look for and specific factors you’ll want to avoid when conducting your search. Use this article as a guide to help you find your infant’s perfect match in early childhood education.

Individualized Care

Look for a warm and nurturing environment that will likely serve as your infant’s home away from home. Each infant should be assigned a “primary caregiver” as to ensure that 100% of the staff member’s time and energy are focused on the well-being of your infant. The primary caregiver should be consistently interacting with your child throughout their day, as eye contact and verbal cues are pertinent to the development of your child’s social behaviors. Additionally, to properly accommodate child mobility, infants may need to be divided by age group. For example, ages 6 weeks to 9 months may be appropriate for one room, and 9 months to 18 months in another.

Reliable Reporting

When searching for a child care program for your infant, one factor should play a significant role in your decision: development over time. Find a child care program that implements a strong reporting system, so that you can see your child’s cognitive, behavioral and physical growth over time through the use of a student portfolio. Look for a child care program that will provide you with a daily report, informing you of your baby’s day, including meal times, diaper changes, nap times and play times.

Organized Childhood Development

Look for a childcare center where every infant participates in individual gross motor activities, fine motor activities, sensorimotor play and social play. Assess whether the program implements activities which encourage babies to experience different tactile sensations or practice verbal exercises, no matter how far along they are. Even better, look for a child care program where teachers may introduce simple sign language such as “eat”, “more”, “help”, etc. to stimulate communication before verbal skills are developed.

A Stimulating and Safe Environment

It’s important that the childcare center you choose is tidy and baby-proof so that your infant can explore their surroundings and practice their motor skills safely. Promoting learning through play is a sure way to stimulate your child so they can enjoy their time while also indirectly learning about the world. Be sure that there are separate eating and diapering areas as to maintain cleanliness.

There are certain questions that you might want to ask yourself as you continue the journey to finding the perfect child care fit for your infant. Below you will find a checklist to consider as you evaluate childcare options:

Do the caregivers…

  • have training in infant-toddler development?
  • work with children patiently?
  • look happy and seem to enjoy children?
  • handle conflict without losing patience?
  • respect language, culture and values of families in the program?
  • speak to the children and babies? Do they sing or read to them as well?
  • have a certification and/or an early childhood education degree?

Is the environment…

  • maintained for health and sanitation purposes?
  • accommodated for the special needs of children?
  • organized so that children can choose what interests them most?
  • comfortably lit without harsh florescent lights?
  • properly secured for infant safety?

Is the child care center…

  • licensed by the state or local government?
  • accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children or the National Association of Family Child Care, or another local state agency, such as MSDE?

There are certain factors that you want to be certain of while considering options for an early childhood care center. For more information on what to look for and where you can find it, contact Celebree Learning Centers today.