The World
Of ElleSee
by LC McDonald

May 25, 2015

5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Selecting a Child Care Provider



After you've had a tour of a day home or early learning centre that you are considering sending your child(ren) to, it's a good idea to sit down and reflect on how the staff answered your questions and to also think about what you noticed while you were touring. Here are five questions to ask yourself when selecting a child care provider:

1. Is the staff happy? It is incredibly important to pay attention to the staff at the day home or early learning centre where you are looking to send your child(ren). Look at the kinds of engagements that they have with the children, and with each other. Have they been yelling the entire time you've been there -- keep in mind that Early Childhood Educators are not robots and do get frustrated -- or have they been reading stories, singing songs, doing science experiments, etc. to engage the children and help them learn. Remember the questions about programming and the level of education of the staff, and keep that in mind when doing your reflection. Happy staff do get frustrated, but the majority of their interactions should be positive, and that's definitely a good indication of a good environment for children to grow and learn.

2. Are the kids happy? Generally if the staff is happy then you will find that the children are also happy. Sometimes there are situations where a child does not get what they want and they get upset, but if they are getting what they need -- good food, good relationships with staff and peers, and a stimulating environment -- then they will most likely be happy and have positive interactions with the staff and the other children.

3. What do the rooms look like: cleanliness, toys, arrangement? Make sure you take a look around the rooms that your child will be using during the time that they will be at the day home or early learning centre. Pay attention to the areas that are available for the children to play in and if it seems to flow well, or if the children are running about like crazy with no sense of where to go. Most places encourage staff to take care of the children first, and look after everything else later, but look and see if the room is tidy, toys are not broken and in their proper places, tables are wiped down after meals, chairs are tucked in or stacked, and the shelves are generally clean.

4. What does the outdoor area look like? Some day homes and early learning centres are quite fortunate and have very large outdoor spaces, or at least a park near by. Take a look around to see if there are a variety of areas to play in. Is there sand, grass, asphalt or cement? Also look at the play equipment to ensure that it is safe for use, and check out the outside toys that are available.

5. How transparent are they in providing what they do, and how they answer questions? This can relate back to the question about the happiness of the staff, but obviously if the staff are quite rude and unwilling -- or unable -- to answer any questions that you may have then it's a good indication of a lack of administration and a poorly run environment. You are the parents, and they should be willing to talk to you about any concerns that you may have. At most day homes and early learning centres the family is the most important element, and must be respected above all else.



7 Questions To Ask Staff When Selecting A Child Care Provider

 
It can be difficult to finally sit down and figure out who you want to look after your child(ren) as you prepare to go back to work, or if you work from home. The following are a few questions to ask beyond the typical question of how much it will cost. Finding the right child care provider for your child can seem like a daunting task, especially for new parents. Ask these questions -- and any others you may think of -- and take some time to really reflect on the answers before you dive in just because you desperately need to find something.

1. Is it licensed? There are many benefits to attending a day home or early learning centre that is licensed. The first is that it is given it's license by the government so there are certain standards that are set and must be achieved. Day homes and early learning centres are regularly visited by people that uphold the standards set forth by the government and their license can be revoked if the standards are not met. Different governments have different standards and scales of rating so you may have to visit your government website to find out what they are. Another benefit is that if you do not have the means to pay for the care entirely by yourself -- as a single parent, or low income parent -- you can get a portion of your childcare subsidized. This is not something that is available in an unlicensed day home or early learning centre.

2. Is there regular programming? Do the children sit in front of the television all day, or is there a set schedule of play time and activities for them to take part in. Different day homes and centres may have different approaches that they may follow. Some might take the Montessori approach, while others follow Reggio Emilia, or have a Play-Based learning program. Do the research and select a child care provider that uses the approach that you most want your child to take part in.

3. Do they have field trips? Do the children have the opportunity to leave the day home or early learning centre to explore the world around them. It could be a simple trip to the spray park to play and have a picnic, or to make a trip to the children's museum or art gallery. If it is important to you that your child get out and explore the world around them, make sure that they attend a day home or centre that doesn't stay in their building all day.

4. What kind of meals do they provide? Everyone wants their child to eat healthy -- even if we don't always to a good job of it ourselves. So make sure to find out if they are eating macaroni and cheese every day, or if they are getting a variety of foods and all four food groups are being covered.

5. What kind of education does the staff have? A lot of early learning centres are required to have a certain number of staff that have their Early Childhood Education Diploma -- this goes back to licensing. Early Childhood Education is important because it teaches the people that will be working with your children how to implement the regular programming, follow licensing procedures, ensure the children are eating healthy and well-balanced meals, as well as many other important subjects. Find out how many staff at the early learning centre you are looking actually have their Early Childhood Education, and be wary if it's less than two or three -- depending on the size of the centre, it may be less or more. If you are looking at taking your child to a day home there are plenty of people who have decided to open their own home after graduating from the ECE program, or that have taken other child-related education -- there are also plenty of day homes that are owned by caring people that do not have the education, but still have a well run place.

6. Do they have a parent handbook? What kind of information do they have available to parents that are just starting at the day home or early learning centre? They should be providing you with a package of information that includes a contract, permission forms for sunscreen/bug spray and field trips, information that relates to licensing, etc. A well written parent handbook should provide you will all of the necessary information you should need to know while your child is attending the day home or early learning centre. Again, this goes back to regulations in licensing, but if you are looking at an unlicensed day home or child care centre at least find one that requires you to sign a well-written contract.

7. What is the policy for when your child gets sick or hurt? Find out what the expectations are of staff if your child comes down with a fever. What temperature and symptoms do they need to have in order for them to be sent home? Obviously if they have a cough and some sniffles they will not be expected to go home, but find out for sure what the policy is. The same goes for if your child gets hurt. Some centres write the information down on a minor injury report so that parents can find out what happened to their child and why he/she might have a bruise or a scratch on him/her. It would not be expected that you take your child home, but there might be an injury where they might call you to inform you that something a little more serious has happened. It's a good idea to ask what they might do an any situation. This also goes back to licensing, and it is highly recommend that you ask this question if considering an unlicensed child care provider.


 

May 22, 2015

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It's amazing how many emotions you can get from someone through just a few sentences or simple instructions. He wears his heart on his sleeve, just like his Mom :)

Have a happy weekend!




May 20, 2015

5 Really Good Baby Gifts


1  -  2  -  3  -  4  -  5


It can be hard sometimes to find that perfect baby gift for your good friend, sister-in-law, random co-worker, etc., but it's important to remember that they are going to be getting a lot of little sleepers and onesies with adorable little sayings on them. Here are five really good gifts to get someone that's having or just had a baby -- or you and your child.

1. Receiving blankets are really great because they are usually light weight and made of some sort of incredibly soft fabric. They are not too warm which makes them perfect for swaddling a newborn to help keep them just a little bit toastier without over-heating.

2. Clothing for a toddler or older is greatly appreciated because most people only pick up clothing for when children are really little. It's really nice to have a little stock pile of pants, shirts, shorts and socks for the older years, and you can help start that.

3. A good pair of shoes for the toddler years would be a fantastic gift because, let's face it, babies cannot walk and so the shoes made for that age are not useful and are typically kicked right off. A well made little tie-up bootie would be a better use of your money in that department. That being said, some sweet kicks for when those little babies are finally running around would be excellent.

4. A bath towel or anything bath related makes a great gift because that is typically the area that is forgotten. A fun little bath towel, some bath toys, baby-friendly soap/shampoo, or a bath support are excellent gifts and would be used on a regular basis.

5. A well made burp pad is probably one of the best gifts you can give. My mom made several for my husband and I when we had our son, and they are fantastic to use. If you can find one that is shaped like a peanut and is filled with layers of cloth or old towels then buy it. The shape makes it easy to stay on your shoulder, and the extra padding makes it nice and soft for baby when he lays is head on it. They are small and much nicer to use than a receiving blanket.




May 18, 2015

May Long Weekend: The Sandbox



We had been talking for a few years now about what we would do in our backyard for our son to play with. We toyed with the idea of a play house, and I created a sort of naturescape playground design -- which I can still do some of -- but we settled on a rather large sandbox for now. Sand and dump trucks have always been something that he has enjoyed playing with at school, and now he can continue the fun at home. My husband did an amazing job, and I couldn't be more proud of the work that he put into it. Let's dig!



May 15, 2015

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He was incredibly eager to give me my Mother's Day gift. He burst into my room at work to give it to me, and excitedly told me about how he used a little bit of purple glitter paint. I love how proud he is of the work that he put into a gift for someone else. Those are feelings and thoughts that we have been trying to build a foundation for since he was a baby. He is such a delightful, rambunctious, caring, silly, charming little boy and I am so proud to be his mother. Bring on the handmade gifts!




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