Finding the right setting for your child.
Sally is coming to the end of her maternity leave and is thinking about her return to work and finding a childcare provider for her little girl. She wonders, who can I get to look after my daughter? How do I know if I am picking the right caregiver? What should I be looking for?
Zach is turning three in May. Jim, his dad, wonders if he should send him to preschool in the fall. He knows there are several preschools nearby and is wondering what the difference is from one another.
For many parents choosing a childcare setting can be an overwhelming task.
Working in the child development field I am often asked questions similar to Sally and Jim’s. This is not surprising given that finding the right caregiver for your child is one of the most important decisions you will make as a parent as this person will have a significant influence on your child’s life.
How should parents start their search? A great starting point is the Parent’s Guide to Selecting Child Care brochure found on the Ministry of Children and Family Development web site (www.mcf.gov.bc.cs/childcare/parents.htm). This guide provides detailed information outlining the different child care choices and facility types, questions you can ask potential caregivers, and a checklist of qualities to look for when visiting a center.
Another good idea is to call the Child Care Options Resource and Referral Program at 604-573-8032. The staff are helpful in narrowing down the considerable list of child care choices in the community according to the family’s needs. For instance, which caregivers can offer transportation to and from your child’s specific school? This can save you the disappointment of calling multiple potential caregivers only to discover they do not meet your basic requirements.
For some parents the search for an ideal child care setting can be more difficult if their child is demonstrating delay or difficulty in an area of development or difficulty in an area of development. The Supported Child Development Program at Reach Child and Youth Development Society recognizes this challenge and supports families and child care centres to include children of varying abilities.
Often the easiest place to start is by word of mouth. Although helpful, do not solely go on another person’s advice. Be sure to visit any potential child care provider and the settings yourself. Visit more than one centre-what may be a great fit for one child may not work for yours.
Ultimately, trust your parental intuition. You know your child best. Remember, finding the right child care setting will take time and persistence, but your child is well worth the effort.
Estelle Greb is a Consultant for Reach Child and Youth Development Society’s Supported Child Development Program which provides support for children who are, or will be, attending a childcare setting in Delta and who require extra support.
For more information call 604-946-6622 ext. 318