What should you expect from your child's daycare center—and what shouldn't you expect? Your child is ready to start a new early learning center. But you're not sure what they will or won't learn and may or may not learn. Take a look at what parents of preschoolers should, and shouldn't, expect from their children's first daycare experience.
Parents Should Expect Plenty of Communication
You need to know what your child will do (or has done) during their day and so much more. The center's director, key educational professionals, and your child's classroom teacher should communicate with you often and effectively. Communication can happen via email, person-to-person discussions (before or after school), phone calls, a newsletter, a website/blog, or social media.
The type of communication you can expect varies by program. Some child care centers provide weekly newsletters to parents or keep them constantly updated via a social media feed, while others prefer in-person daily communication or teacher-to-parent emails. The subject of any type of communication may also vary. The center's staff may communicate general information (such as special events or lunch menus), progress reports, or specific strengths/challenges your child faces.
Parents Should Expect A Safe Environment
Licensed daycare centers must maintain specific safety, health, and hygiene standards. A state or local licensing agency provides centers with regulations and rules. These agencies also inspect centers and help them to comply with standards.
A safe daycare environment means different things to different parents. There are physical safety issues that can reduce the risks of injuries and help to protect your child's health. These may include anything from safety gates and electrical outlet covers to cleanliness and cleaning product storage.
Along with the physical environment, staff and other adults play a primary role in your child's safety. Talk to the center's director about how many staff members are in each classroom (the adult-to-child ratio), background check requirements, and experience/education requirements.
Parents Shouldn't Expect Care Beyond the Contract
Did you sign a child care contract that specifies how many days and hours you will pay for? If the contract outlines that your child will only attend part-time care, don't expect to add on extra days or hours. The center may not have the space for your child for additional days. They may also expect parents to pay an extra fee for care beyond normal or contracted hours. If you need a flexible schedule, talk to the center's director about changes in attendance.
Reach out to a daycare center near you for more information.