As parents, it can be very hard to choose a childcare Cambridge center. We are considered as our children’s first teachers since they spend most of the time with us. At the same time, the childcare staff is also their first teacher. Because of this, it is important that we pay close attention to quality when choosing the right one. We can’t just choose whichever is closer to our home.
All childcare centers in Cambridge aren’t the same. Thus, we need to visit the centers in person. Doing this allows us to observe how things are done there. Convenience and location are very important factors. But that shouldn’t stop you from setting quality as a priority.
There are different tips we can follow in choosing a childcare Cambridge center. We, parents, all have different priorities. There are things we need to consider before choosing the right center. These guidelines below should help us choose the right one for our children.
Fees and Services
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a childcare center is the family’s budget. They say that the more expensive the fees are, the better the quality is. But it’s not always the case. Below are the questions you can ask:
- Are there services like holiday-oriented parties and day trips?
- Are there extra fees for those types of services?
- How does the center attend to the children with special needs? Is there an extra cost for this service?
Security and Safety
As parents, our children’s safety should be the number one priority. The childcare Cambridge center we choose should be able to provide the level of security our children need. We need to be sure that our children will be safe and secure 100% while they are within the premises of the center. Below are the questions you can ask:
- Is there a security system set up?
- Are there enough security cameras to monitor the children in the center?
- Are there security guards?
- What are the policies when it comes to picking children up? Who is allowed to pick them up?
- Who are allowed to enter the premises of the childcare center?
Another thing to consider is the business hours of the childcare center. Dropping kids off and picking them up from the center would be a challenge, especially for working parents. There may be times that they’ll be late when picking their kids up. Below are the questions you can ask:
- Do the business hours fit the schedule of working parents?
- What are the policies of the center regarding picking up children? Is it okay to be late when picking up children?
- What are the hours and policies when it comes to holidays?
Aside from the business hours, you should also check on the staff of the childcare center. It is very important to ensure that your child is handled by an expert. Doing this helps us make sure that your child is in good hands. It’s also important to know if the teacher can handle the number of children in a class. Below are the questions you can ask:
- What are the professional qualifications and educational attainment of the directors, teachers, and office personnel?
- Which of the teachers is going to interact with your child? Is he/she available to talk to when you drop off and pick up your child?
- How is the staff turnover rate? Is it high?
- What is the ratio of the staff and children? The standard ratio should be four to 1, for 13-35-month children.
Daily Schedule and Curriculum
Once you’ve determined that the staff have the skills and the license to teach your child, the next thing you’ll need to find out is the daily schedule. You’ll also need to know what they’re going to teach your child in the class. Here are the questions you can ask:
- Is there a daily routine? How structured are the daily classes? Are they strictly followed?
- Do they allocate time for children to learn how to read and write? If yes, how often does this happen?
- Is there a policy that enforces children to have social, physical, emotional, and cognitive development?
Communication and Feedback
We can’t always observe how our children are doing while they are in the childcare center. There will always be times when we’ll need to ask about how our children are doing. The best person we can talk to about their development is their teacher. It’s important to have this kind of interaction every now and then. Here are the questions you can ask:
- Are the teachers open to concerns and questions from the parents? Are they open to discussions about your child’s development?
- Can parents build a relationship with the staff and teachers to discuss if there are issues with the children?
- Does the childcare Cambridge center provide parents with a daily report? Does the report include daily activities, behaviors, and eating habits?
Lastly, we should also know the kind of environment the childcare center has. This is for us to understand if our children are in an environment free from the risks of sicknesses. No matter how good the teachers are, it will be useless if the environment isn’t conducive for learning. Below are the questions you can ask:
- Is the childcare center sanitized and clean?
- Is there a specific room where the staff can change the children’s diapers?
- Is there a strict policy for children to always wash their hands before eating and after using the restroom?
- Are the rooms bright and pleasant?
- How are the other children doing? Do they seem playful and happy? Do the staff attend to the needs of crying children?
These are just a few guidelines in choosing the right childcare center in Cambridge. This should be able to help other parents out there with their decision-making process.
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I love what you mentioned about finding a daycare that employs the proper staff in order to ensure that your child is taught properly. Daycare centers are beneficial because they allow your child to interact with other kids. My wife and I are both busy with work, so we’ll make an effort to find the best child care service in our area.
I thought you made a great point when you said to ask how structured a childcare center is before you choose one. My wife and I both work full time, so we don’t have time to watch our son. We will be sure to find a structured care center that can watch him while we are at work.