5 things I wish I’d known when trying to find the perfect Georgia child care provider
Finding a good child care provider for my daughters was literally one of the biggest challenges we had when we had our first daughter, Leila. We were fortunate to be able to keep her home for the first year with a family member, but when it was time to place her in daycare, this began one of the most daunting experiences of our lives.
I should also mention how time was of the essence and I literally had just a couple of weeks before I’d have to find a child care provider. That said, as much as it pains me to admit this, we totally failed in the beginning. Well, failed is such a strong word, as we really did the best we could with the time and resources we had available at that time. We started out in a local daycare we happened to pass by each day and thought would be suitable for her. It took us only a couple of weeks (and a few surprise visits) to know this was not going to be it. So, we were back to the drawing board, taking time off from work to go nearly door to door until we found the perfect daycare for our daughter.
Throughout this entire, frustrating process, let me share with the 5 things I wish I’d known when trying to find the perfect child care provider for our daughter:
- Finding the perfect child care provider does not have to be a daunting task!
What a concept, right? While fortunately, there was a happy ending to our story and we eventually found a child care facility we absolutely loved for both of our children, there are several resources available to parents when looking for the perfect daycare that can save a lot of time and heartache. Parents in Georgia can find support they need as they select a child care program through the a free search tool makes it easy to find quality, affordable child care by organizing child care options by price, distance, services offered, and Quality Rated star-rating. Not only can you search for a child care facility that is convenient to your commute by clicking the “Search along a route” option, but parents can easily access each child care program’s safety and inspection reports, opening hours, prices, teacher credentials, and transportation options.
- Not all child care facilities will prepare your child for regular school
Like pretty much all parents, we wanted to find a daycare that was not only a quality establishment, meaning, a clean and safe place we could trust, but also a place where that placed a real value on education and academic preparedness for when she’d enter school. Unfortunately, all child care facilities do not place that same emphasis on education, or they do not custom it to each child. No, we didn’t necessarily need a child care provider that would teach our 1 year old how to code. Don’t get me wrong – that would’ve been really cool too, but there were other programs and offerings we felt would benefit our daughter and family better.
- More expensive does not always equal better.
Don’t even get me started on how important it was for us to be able to find all of this in a child care provider we could actually afford! Call it my jadedness of how the world works, I naturally just assumed that the more expensive the facility, the better it would be for our child. Turns out, that’s not always the case.
- Size does matter
No, I’m not getting into that sort of conversation, but the size of the child care facility and teacher/provider:student ratio can matter greatly in how much attention your child could potentially get. Coming from being cared for in our home, this was especially important and necessary for my daughter since she was pretty much used to one-on-one interaction and a smaller ratio would certainly make the transition easier for her.
- The perfect child care facility should allow you to be a true partner in your child’s care and learning
This is important on so many levels. I was turned off by child care facilities whose rules were so strict, they’d feel as though any parental interception would be discouraged. For us, one of the areas in which we needed the most cooperation from was in the menu and foods our children would be served. It’s no secret that we come with some pretty stringent guidelines about what our children eat, and I can tell you we were probably worse about it when they were toddlers. I cringed at the thought of my child eating junk food at such a young age and really wanted to find a place that would respect my wishes as a parent when it came to the foods that my child was served. It was important to find a place where we could access menus and standards ahead of time, as well as one that would allow the flexibility for me to bring in substitutions where needed.
Child care facilities with a “Quality Rated” star rating are ensured by independent, credentials experts in early education to exceed standard licensing requirements and follow best practices, including:
- Employing qualified and well-trained teachers
- Providing a safe, healthy and caring environment
- Implementing individualized instruction
- Offering a curriculum that prepares children for kindergarten
- A focus on both active learning and social-emotional development
- Engaging families
- Providing a low teacher-student ratio
Child care providers that participate in the Quality Rated Program are committed to continually improving their centers and the education they offer, but you’ll find comfort in knowing that Quality Rated’s tool lists all licensed and license-exempt child care providers in Georgia — Quality Rated or not — to provide you with a comprehensive overview.
If you are looking for a child care provider in Georgia, learn more about Quality Rated HERE. If you already have child care, do you know if it’s Quality Rated? Click here to use the tool and find out!