Taking your child to daycare can bring anxiety and stress to both parties, but when your child looks forward to it, you know you’ve made the right choice! Today’s daycare options range from formal centers with professional staff members, group daycare programs in staffed facilities, or can exist within someone’s home. When selecting your child’s ‘home away from home,’ it is important to look over your options carefully. You’ll need to learn as much as you can about the center, including the qualifications of the staff, the general upkeep and condition of the environment, and even consider customer feedback. With the right steps, you’ll easily find the best fit and center most suitable for your child’s daycare needs. Here are some essential areas to consider to evaluate the best daycare option for you and your child:
Ask about staff training
It’s important to know the level of training that staff members have, any qualifications, and what type of hiring practices the center/daycare facility undertakes. Your child will only be in good hands when you can rest assured that the providers are skilled, well-qualified, trained adequately, and can take care of most emergencies if needed. Do ask questions on certification and qualification status.
Request information about the center’s policies, and a copy in writing
Management should be able to provide with you either an FAQs list, or a full packet of information about the center’s policies, rule, and key interests/mission. In any type of center or home, the daycare providers should be able to answer any and all questions on their rules, requirements, and discipline policies well before your registration.
Inquire about the child to staff ratio
A ratio of 1 staff member to 6 children is ideal, as this provides just enough help and assistance for every child at a given center. It’s important to also recognize if children are separated into groups by age and gender so you have an idea what types of social groups and general group interaction is expected when your child attends.
Learn about the center’s sick children policy
Ask about any health-related issues or concerns your child may be exposed to such as allergies, general colds, and if there is a requirement for a physical exam. It’s also helpful to find out if the center provides a ‘quarantine’ or sick room area for children that may be ill, and if there is a nurse or doctor available on-site. Since children can spread illnesses very quickly, a well-equipped center will provide you with their health measures without any problems.
Check general building appearance and playground safety
Do look around for signs of general upkeep, housekeeping, and cleanliness. Safety gates, safe furniture, clean toys, and covered electric outlets are just a few clues to a safe center or facility; also make sure there are not any major potential accident areas such as open space heaters, no mats in the playground, or no smoke alarms in the building.
Find out if there are any parent committees or groups to join
To enhance both your child and your daycare membership, it may be helpful and fun to join a committee or parent group to get involved, and make new friends! Daycare centers often sponsor family-fun events, potlucks, and social gatherings, so do make an effort to get involved if you have the time.
Ask about off-site trips and excursions
Stay well-informed about any trips, day-vacations, or off-site events that are planned for various programs so you are always aware where your child may be during the week. Even if this involves walks or activities close to the area, it’s important for you to know where these take place and how frequently.
When you’ve established your requirements, your child’s needs, and what to expect, you’ll need to select the right day care provider or day care center. Here are the top resources for daycare centers and providers in Madison, Wisconsin and the surrounding area:
La Petite Academy
La Petite has over 600 locations throughout the United States, and each center is licensed by the state. Programs and curriculum include many options from toddlers to school-age children from 6-12 years. Various projects focused on self development, social, language, and self-help skills are core parts of their program.
Countryside Montessori Preschool
721 Northport Drive, Madison, WI 53704
Montessori programs are independently funded programs focused on unique, experiential learning curriculums. Montessori programs are focused on hands-on, interactive learning subjects of language, art, practical life, drama, music, dance, geography, mathematics, and science. These specialized programs encourage a creative social learning environment.
Teddy’s Place Child Care Inc
1514 West Main Street, Sun Prairie, WI 53590
Tddy’s Pace childcare offers monthly themes, field trips, breakfast, and well-certified professional staff. Guest speakers and entertainers are involved with various programs, and a breakfast program is also served.
Kids Express Learning Center
3276 High Point Road, Madison, WI 53719
This nature-focused learning center offers kids hands-on learning, vital social skills, and a high level of environment interaction in a natural, welcoming setting. Enrichment programs include music lessons, art, Spanish, gardening, and nature exploration.
Babes In Toyland Family Daycare
5609 Tolman Terrace, Madison, WI 53711
This independently-owned center offers gym classes, swimming lessons, drama, educational videos, arts and crafts, and literature programs.
Bright Horizons At The American Center
5502 American Family Drive, Madison, WI 53718
This highly education-focused encourages young readers in literature, and offers a professional dn parent-friendly daycare environment to enhance young minds in preparation for school.
Child Development Inc
2012 Fisher Street, Madison, WI 53713
This center’s primary focus is on child development, with a strong Creative Curriculum to increase creativity, inquiry, independent decision-making, physical skills, and long-term school success. It encourages excellence and promotes growth opportunities in an active-learning atmosphere.
Community Coordinated Child Care Inc
5 Odana Court, Madison, WI 53719
This center’s mission is to bring quality childcare, food, and development programs to a variety of Wisconsin’s counties. Each community offers a strong curriculum provided by preschool teachers with professional accreditations.
Creative Learning Preschool and Child Care Center
105 South Butler Street, Madison, WI 53703
This state-licensed center specializes in small group sizes and small child to staff ratios. The ocusis on hands-on activities with increasing learning ability through independent laring and child-directed curriculum. The open environment encourages creativity, engaging learning, and developing strong social skills and foundations.
2310 Mustang Way, Madison, WI 53718
This education-focused center encourages creative minds to expore, develop, and increase their intelligence, reasoning, and social skills through direct learning opportunities. The center offers hands-on learning activities, games, and creative art outlets to round out its disciplines in education.