A message about finding quality programs from the Director, Heather Malley:
Before I was a parent myself, I spent six years working as a researcher and program evaluator, identifying quality early education programs and helping early education programs to improve.
Once I became a parent and needed childcare, it was a frustrating and overwhelming experience looking for a high quality program that had space for my daughter.
Then I began to reflect on how fortunate I was to have knowledge about what quality programs should look like. If this is hard for me, it must be even more difficult for parents who don't have any information about what to look for!
In addition to opening my own program, I decided to do what I can to help educate parents on how to identify the best programs out there.
Below are some quick and useful tips when starting to search for a great school or child care program.
When you tour and observe a program, keep these questions in mind:
- Are the children busily engaged in play or activities?
- Are the teachers happy and engaged with the children?
- Are a variety of activities available for children to choose from?
- Do you feel welcome to observe and were your questions well received?
- Do the teachers seem to be caring for the safety and well-being of the children?
Additionally, here are some useful questions to ask when you visit a program:
- Can you tell me about your program's philosophy and curriculum?
- How do the teachers communicate with parents about their child?
- How do you choose your teaching staff?
- What are the program hours, available schedules (part or full-time), and tuition rates?
If you can observe teachers with children, this is a great opportunity to see how the teachers talk to the children, the tone they use and the way they engage children. Children thrive when they are with adults who appreciate them and are interested in what they have to say.