The Difference in a Daycare and a Preschool

Searching for childcare options is a normal part of being a parent in the workforce.  The good news is that there are many options to choose from. Many parents begin the search for the right childcare option by looking at relatives.  If relatives are unavailable, they then begin to look for a facility that they can trust to keep their children.

Parents often make the mistake of using the terms Daycare and Preschool interchangeably.  It is important to understand that when it comes to childcare facilities, Daycares and Preschools are not the same things. Here are some of the common differences in a Daycare and a Preschool. It is important to note that these differences do not apply to all facilities and each facility is unique by nature.  This is a generalized list to provide a general idea of common differences between the two.



One common difference in Daycares and Preschools are their hours of operation.  Daycare facilities tend to have longer hours because the goal is to provide childcare while parents are at work.  Preschool is aimed at ensuring children are ready to start Kindergarten. For this reason, many preschools operate under the same hours as the school systems.  Preschools also often have stricter and shorter times for drop-offs and pick-ups than Daycares.


 Daycares and preschools also tend to have different enrollment requirements.  Preschools tend to require more forms of documentation than preschools. Typically, children that are enrolled in a preschool must be potty-trained, whereas that is not necessarily a requirement of daycare.  Children in a preschool must be old enough to function in a school like setting, wherein daycares this is not an issue. Many preschools operate as part of a school system. For this reason, enrollment typically involves the same forms as enrolling a child in public and/or private school.



Daycare facilities and preschools also typically have different qualifications than what is required of their staff.  Preschool staff normally have some type of early childhood educational background or experience. There is typically some type of certification or training involved.  With Daycare facilities, typically anyone can apply and training is normally less intense. However, daycares do typically hire individuals with some type of background, certification, or training in early childhood development/education before other applicants.                                               


The structure of a Daycare varies from what is found in a Preschool.  Daycares are typically less structured than a preschool. They typically take younger children, meaning that the ability to have a curriculum is less likely by nature.   While older children in a daycare may learn basics (colors, numbers, animals) they are less likely to learn the same level of things as what children in a preschool learning. 

Preschools are typically more structured. They are aimed at teaching children what they need to know to enter into the school system. There is a higher level of structure with a preschool facility because these facilities are designed to get children ready for school.  They typically teach them the fundamentals that are needed to start and be successful in Kindergarten. Preschools are often more structured and more curriculum based than Daycare Facilities.



The price of these facilities also differs.  Based on the option that is chosen, however, it is up for debate on which one is cheaper.  Typically, families can find Preschool options that are part of the public-school systems. This has a lot to do with the emphasis put on early interventions for various learning disabilities in recent years.  You can also typically find Preschools that are extremely cheap based on educational purposes. For example, many colleges have preschool programs where students design and run the classroom. This is cheaper due to the fact students are providing care while under the supervision of an instructor.  However, private preschools can be more expensive than a common daycare. Daycares typically have more opportunities for subsidies than preschools. Private preschools are also typically more expensive than daycares.  




Options for Child Day Care: Daycare Facility Vs. Home Daycare


One of the biggest challenges parents face is finding proper child care for their children.  Anytime a parent is considering starting back to work, there are some factors that should be considered.  One of the biggest ones is the scarcity of quality child care. One of the best things that a parent can do for their children is carefully consider all their options and make an informed decision about which child care option works best for them and their family.  Daycare is one of the most common options that parents choose. Here is a comparison of the advantages and disadvantages for each.


Daycare Facility – Average Cost: $380 – $1564


A child daycare facility is a common choice for parents when it comes to finding care for their children during the day.  This is a facility where parents take their children for care. The people caring for the children is usually someone outside the child’s immediate family.  Daycare facilities are ongoing services that provide childcare at certain times during the day. There are many advantages and disadvantages to this option.


There are many good things about daycare facilities. First, they are more affordable than many other child care options.  They are also a reliable means of child care. You don’t have to worry that you won’t make it to work because your child care provider calls in sick or is unable to make it work.  They also typically provide enough supervision for all the children present. Kids also can socialize with other children in their age group. Most Daycare staff are trained and most facilities are licensed and regulated in some way.


Nothing is perfect and there are some disadvantages to consider regarding daycare facilities.  One of the biggest things to consider is that caregivers in a daycare facility or responsible for more than one child at a time.  Another consideration to make is that if you have an infant, it can be difficult to find the right facility. Kids are almost more prone to illness in daycare settings and most facilities close for the holidays.  There are also typically strict times for dropping off and picking up children.


Home Daycare – Average Cost $200 – $1000 Per Month (babies/toddlers) and $315- $956 Per Month (Preschool Age)


Home Daycare is a daycare facility that is run out of someone’s home.   It is either runs out of their home or it is run out of a place that resembles a home.  The bottom line is that home daycare is childcare that is provided in a home-like setting.  There are advantages and disadvantages regarding home daycare.  


Home daycare is provided in a homelike setting making the child more comfortable.  The setting tends to more nurturing than a facility. There are also smaller groups than what is found at a facility.  Home daycare also tends to be less expensive than a facility. Kids have the ability in most situations to socialize with others their age.  Home daycare tends to have drop-off and pick-up times that are more flexible.  

There are also disadvantages to a home daycare.  If the childcare provider gets sick, there may not be a backup option available.  Home daycare is set up much like a regular daycare. It is group type care. This means that kids are more likely to get sick.  There is also less supervision at a home daycare than in a facility and the licensing requirements are less strict. It can be difficult to find daycare during the holidays because home daycares tend to close for the holidays.


Home Vs. Facility Daycare


In conclusion, each type of daycare has its up and downs.  Each one has varying prices based on the facility and what it offers.  It is important to do your research and decide what each one can bring to you. You want to make the decision that is best for both you and your family. 




What to Look for When Looking for a Childcare Facility

Finding the right childcare facility is a difficult task.  It is overwhelming for parents to try and locate a facility where their children will be safe and well cared for at an affordable price.  No matter the age of the child, it is critical that you find childcare where your children are safe and comfortable. Here are some things that you can look for when checking out a childcare facility.



Before you sign your child up for childcare, you want to drive by the location.  The best time to visit is in the evening hours. Think about the way you would examine the property if you were looking to purchase it.  This is the same lens you want to use now. Make sure that your car is parked somewhere that childcare staff won’t pay attention to it. This is so that you can get the full picture.  Walk around the area and listen to the sounds. Listen to the neighborhood. Look at the conditions of the neighborhood. The area surrounding the daycare will give you a good idea of the daycare itself. 

What are You Looking For?

If you are looking for a facility or looking at a home based childcare provider there are some things that you want to look for.  When looking at an at-home provider, pay attention to the driveway. If the driveway is crowded, it could indicate that there are many individuals that your child is going to be exposed to. 

You also want to find out exactly how many individuals live in the home. No matter what you are looking at, pay attention to the conditions of the facility. Pay attention to your gut reaction after your first impression.  If you feel uncomfortable with the area or the neighborhood, you should maybe reconsider.

If the provider is in a sketchy neighborhood, find out what extra safety provisions are in place. In general, it is important to find out how the provider safeguards your child while your child is in their care.  Make a list of everything that is important to you.



You also want to decide what type of curriculum you are looking for.  Do you want somewhere that works on skills and development with your child or do you want a babysitter?  Do you want structure or would you rather your child has more free time during the day to play? You need to know what type of curriculum that you are looking for and discuss this with the staff.  A good provider is not going to lie to you.

They will be upfront and honest about what they do and do not provide. It may be a good idea to put items on your least from most important to least important.  Finding a childcare provider that can meet everything on your list is going to be unlikely. It is important that the most important things on your list, at least, are met. Put the things you are not willing to compromise on at the top.



Finally, pay attention to the atmosphere when checking out a place.  Look at the interactions between the staff and the children. Are the staff hands on?  Are they assisting the children when it is needed? Are they paying attention? Are they warm and nurturing toward the children?  How are they interacting with you? Do you feel confident that they are being honest? Is this a place that you feel comfortable leaving your child every day?  The most important thing you can do is trust your gut instinct. 



The Need for Quality Daycare in America


Many individuals do not understand the need that there is for quality child care in America.  Mothers, fathers, single family homes, multigenerational homes, blended families, and many other types of families all have a need for quality child daycare.  Anyone who needs quality daycare understands the lack of child care any America.  However, if you are not in the position of having to find childcare, the options available may seem sufficient.  Here are some reasons that we need quality daycare and barriers to quality daycare in America.



In today’s economic world most parents are working.  The days of stay-at-home parenting is almost over.  In fact, it is rare to find a family in today’s world to find a stay-at-home parent.  Parents must go to work to provide for their families.  In fact, most stay-at-home parents these days do not actually stay at home parents.  Most are students trying to gain an education so that they can enter the workforce.  Numerous families either do not have the family support to leave their children with family members while they are at work or the family support they have is also in the workforce.  With the increase of lifespan, individuals are staying in the workforce for longer periods of time.  Economically, being able to work more is a good thing, but it causes an issue in what to do with the children while at work.  There is a real need for a safe and affordable place to take our children while we are working.



One of the biggest barriers to quality daycare is the cost.  With the need of quality daycare continuously on the rise, the cost of daycare is continuously rising as well.  Low-income families can typically get subsidies and assistance to pay for child care while they work.  High-income families can typically afford to send their children to quality daycare programs while they are at work.  If a low-income family is unable to gain subsidies or assistance for quality daycare, then child care becomes a barrier to employment.  This can cause a family in poverty to remain in poverty.  Middle-income families typically have no chance of qualifying for assistance.  Childcare can put a huge strain on the budget and can quickly have middle and lower-class families struggling with a decision of making ends meat or staying at home with the children.  Cost is one of the biggest barriers to quality child care and quality child care is needed for families to be able to work.  



Another barrier to quality daycare is safety.  We live in a scary world.  There are reports all over the media of children being abused and/or hurt while at daycare.  This makes finding the right facility essential and difficult.  It is critical that families are comfortable with where their children are during the day.  Worrying about the safety of our children is normal, but it can also affect our work performance.  It is important that parents conduct thorough research on each facility to ensure their children are safe while the parents are working.  There are certain qualities that can be looked at to determine whether the children in the facility are safe.  Parents can look at the equipment that is being used, the training of the staff involved, any licenses that the facility holds (licensure typically indicates a higher level of accountability for the facility and its employees), and the structure of the facility.  By looking at things such as classroom size and the age groups and each classroom you can get a feel for whether the teachers are likely to become overwhelmed and how much attention they are going to be able to provide to each individual child.


Pulling it All Together

Quality and affordable child daycare options are critical in America.  It is needed for parents to be able to work and provide for their children.  It is also critical that parents know their children are safe and cared for while they are at work.




Spoilt for Choice: The New Pressure of Finding Your Future


From an early age, I grew up watching the popular 90’s American comedy Frasier almost every morning before school as my mum would usually have it on in the background. Immediately I was fascinated by the profession of the main character Frasier Crane, a radio talk show psychologist. Even though it is probably not the best source of Psychology facts or information, I was instantly hooked, and I knew I too wanted to study Psychology. I bought second-hand textbooks from Car boot sales (or Flea markets for any Americans reading this) and immersed myself in the fascinating topic. At the age of 15 I chose to study it at college (Late high school for you Americans again, 16-18 years) where I obtained top marks and later took it at University and graduated with the highest possible grade.   


After all of this, you would assume that my career path lacked any ambiguity regarding “What do I want to do in life?”. In fact, it is quite the opposite. I undeniably love the subject but currently have no real ambitions of pursuing it as a career for a number of reasons. Mainly because this career path requires an overwhelming plethora of qualifications, which will take a lot of time while simultaneously accumulating a lot of student debt. Moreover, it hinders my ability to do the one thing I love more than anything, travel! As a result, at 24 my idea about what career path I want to take changes daily, constantly zigzagging between ideas.   


The pressure of choosing a career  


There can be an incredible amount of pressure for teenagers and young adults when it comes to making decisions like what to study and whether pursuing further education is the right choice. Parents, friends and teachers can be a source of help or added pressure, and these influences are only the tip of the iceberg. It can be hard processing all the factors, what do I enjoy doing, is there a demand for this, how much money will I earn and what if I want to do something else in the future? Many years ago, the necessity to make these decisions weren’t as common because social mobility hardly existed. If you were born into a working-class family, it’s likely that you were going to stay there. If your father was a miner, there is a good chance you will be, too. Therefore, due to all of these new options in our modern world, young people take career decisions too early, it can be a stressful time for young people.


Making the right choice  


Arriving at the right decision may be a long and stressful process, but it can also be very rewarding if you discover something you love or successful choose to pursue your passion. Even though I have no intentions of pursuing a career in Psychology at this current time, I thoroughly enjoyed the subject and I honestly believe I can attribute most of my success to the fact that I am passionate about it. Here are some tips on how to make the right choices when faced with this mammoth task.   


Talents, Abilities and Skills  


When making these decisions it’s advantageous to consider what you are naturally good at. If you happen to have a natural talent for maths it may be worth considering some careers which require this type of methodical thinking such as Maths, Computing or Science. The same can be said for all other subjects. If you are naturally good at something, it may give you an advantage when applying for universities or when competing in the modern workplace. The same can be said for any previous work or subject experience you have. With that being said, what you’re naturally good at may not be something you enjoy, and if you don’t enjoy your work I can almost guarantee it will affect your productivity and job fulfilment. In other words, don’t consider this the only factor.   


Social and economic factors  


This has less to do with who you are and more to do with the environment you will be entering. Today’s modern technology is forever moving forward with rapid pace and so is  HYPERLINK “”its HYPERLINK “” ability to replace humans with machines. For example, it is highly likely that we will see many jobs like lorry drivers  HYPERLINK “”phased HYPERLINK “” out with the use of  HYPERLINK “”self-driving HYPERLINK “” vehicles. So when it comes to making your choice of what to study it is important to consider the demand for workers in this field in the foreseeable future.   


It’s never too late to change career paths  


Even though all these choices may seem stressful, it is important to understand that this freedom to choose last for a lot more than just your teens. When I graduated University, I accepted a job working in Sales for an IT technology company. I know nothing about IT, and even after working there for a year and a half I still know nothing about IT. What I did learn is that IT really doesn’t interest me (despite my efforts to change this) and now I know. I may not know what I want to do in life, however, because of this experience I have now narrowed down my options and ruled out IT.  


Relax! This is supposed to be enjoyable.   


Being told to relaxed when faced with daunting decisions may seem difficult but the truth is you are on a mission to find something that every day makes you want to get out of bed and go do what you love. Even though it might seem like a difficult mission at times, you have the opportunity to explore so many options and try so many things. This is a path to discovering your passions, your skills and essentially a route to discovering more about yourself and what makes you tick.   


One of the most influential moments during my degree was when I was introduced to Alan Watts. If you are not familiar with the work of Alan Watts, I would highly recommend checking him out. More importantly, my lecturer showed us this video shortly before we were all due to graduate and it really did have a lasting influence. If I can leave you with one piece of advice, it is to have no fear. Try new things, study new topics, find jobs you like, quit jobs you don’t and always, always pursue your passion because that will keep you going through the best of times and the worst of times. I may not know what I want to do for the rest of my life, but I have found a great passion for writing and working as a freelance writer. Tomorrow I may want to be a chief, or perhaps a tightrope walker in a travelling circus. But whatever, you decide to do pursue your dream and make sure you are happy.   


“If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you’ll spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing thing you don’t like doing, which is stupid.” – Alan Watts 

Young people take career decisions too early, it can be a stressful time for young people.

Options for Childcare: Nanny Vs. Relatives


When searching for childcare options, parents tend to look at ways to keep their children home first. From the time, a baby is born until they start Kindergarten is the only time that children are truly free of responsibility.  Many parents want them to spend these first years relaxed and learning fundamentals.  They want to allow their children to stay at home if possible.  This is normal, especially with the world the way it is today.  By nature, children under the age of 6 are more vulnerable than children over the age of 6.  The most common options for childcare at home is to hire a nanny or have a relative watch them.  


Nanny – Average Cost $500-$700 Per Week


Hiring a nanny means that you are hiring a professional to provide care for your child when you are not at home.  This is typically someone that is unrelated to the family.  Before hiring a nanny, parents should make sure that they do research on the person that they are hiring.  They should make sure that they are considering both the background and the history of the person they are hiring.   A nanny provides total care for children while the parents are away, often in the home.  It is critical that parents ensure the nanny they are hiring is qualified, experienced, and has the patience and knowledge that is needed for the parents to trust their children are safe.  Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages to hiring a nanny.


When parents hire a nanny, they are hiring a professional that can provide their child with more individualized childcare than what is provided in a facility.  The caregiver can pay more attention to the child and therefore there is less of a chance of something being missed throughout the course of the day.  Accidents are also less likely.  Finding childcare in-home is normally a more convenient option that out-of-home childcare options.  Nannies also tend to be more flexible than facilities.  Hiring a nanny also provides children with more familiarity because they stay in settings that are familiar to them.  


The biggest disadvantage to hiring a nanny is that it is the most expensive option for childcare. Nanny’s also do not typically have a supervisor that they must answer to, meaning that there is less accountability.  The nanny or the parents must arrange for the children to socialize with other children, whereas this is built-in to facility childcare options.  There is also a lot of paperwork involved in legally hiring a nanny.  When a nanny becomes sick, quits unexpectedly, or is unavailable to come to work, parents can find themselves in a bind.  


Relative Care – Average Cost Varies


Relative care is typically the first option for low-income and many middle-income level families.  Relative care is when parents leave their children with a family member while they are at work.  Relative care is typically free.  There are times, however, where families choose to pay relatives for providing childcare.  In these instances, payment can be made in numerous ways.  An individual can choose to pay a relative with money, by doing chores for them, or in several other ways.  There are both advantages and disadvantages to having a relative provide childcare.


The biggest advantage to relative care is that someone that already cares for the child is providing care for the child.  Parents are leaving their children with someone that they already trust and that already has a personal interest in keeping the child safe.  Relative caregivers can provide a higher level of individualized attention.  Relatives also typically share the same or similar morals and/or values as the core family itself.  This means that children are typically held to the same standards that they are expected to live up to at home.  Relative childcare is also typically the cheapest option.  


One of the biggest disadvantages to relative childcare is that establishing a working relationship with a relative is difficult.  There are also times where opinions on child rearing may vary and it may be more difficult to discuss this with family members.  Someone must arrange times for the children to play with others their age.  Relatives also do not have to report to a supervisor or regulatory board, making them less accountable.  Older relatives also may have a difficult time providing quality care for younger children.


Bringing it Together


Childcare that is provided in the home allows children to remain in settings that they know.  Each option has its advantages and disadvantages.  At the end of the day, what matters is the option that fits you and your family.




How to Select the Right Childcare Provider


One of the biggest and most important decisions that a parent makes is who will provide care for their children while they are at work.  Finding the right childcare program or individual is stressful. There are numerous options that parents can consider for childcare. It is important that parents select the childcare provider that best fits the needs of their family.  Here are some tips that can help make the process of selecting a quality childcare provider a little less stressful.

  1. Child Interaction

It is important that the child can interact with a potential caregiver before they are hired.  This provides the parent with the opportunity to see how the caregiver and the child interact with one another.  It provides parents with the opportunity to decide whether they can trust the caregiver to interact appropriately with the child.

  1. References

You should also contact references for the caregiver.  You can ask your friends and family for a list of caregivers they recommend.  Parents should begin searching for child care the second they realize they are going to need it because affordable childcare is scarce.  Word of mouth is always the best form of advertisement and getting referrals from individuals you trust can be one of the best ways to find a provider that fits.

  1. Inspect


You want to make sure that inspect any childcare facility you are looking at before you enroll your child into the facility.  Make sure that licensed facilities have a safety plan in place. Look to see if there is an evacuation plan posted. You want to look at the overall cleanliness of the facility and check out nap and classroom facilities.  You also want to take the time to observe how the staff interact with the children and how the children interact with one another to get a feel for what your child will experience during the day.

  1. Policy

Make sure that you go over the policies for the facility.  Find out what happens when the provider becomes sick. Make sure that they have backup options available.  Find out whether you are responsible for alternate care if the teacher is sick. You also want to consider if childcare is going to be provided when your child is sick.  Most facilities will not do this, but there are at-home providers that will. You also want to go over discipline policies. Find out what actions are taken when a child misbehaves and whether the disciplinary views of the provider coincide with your personal disciplinary views.  If you plan on taking a vacation find out if you must pay fees when you are not utilizing the services. You also want to go over work schedules and find out whether the child care is going to be sufficient to meet the needs of the times that you need a caregiver for your child.

  1. Nutrition


You also want to consider whether the facility provides snacks and meals.  Most licensed providers participate in what is known as a federal nutrition program.  This program reimburses the facility for food costs. However, they must meet the federal guidelines to be reimbursed.  When you find a facility that participates in this program, it means that your child is eating meals that are nutritional while you are away.

  1. Final Considerations

There are a few final things you want to do before signing the contract.  Make sure that you review all the fine print in the contract. Find out what type of background checks staff has been through.  Make a few unannounced visits to the facility to get a big picture. Finally, make sure that you trust your gut instinct on whether the facility is right for you and your child.


What to Look for in Childcare Staff


The thought of leaving your children in the care of another person, especially one you don’t know, can be stressful and overwhelming.  You want to make sure that the people caring for your child everyday have the compassion and qualifications necessary to care for your child.  With the media reporting so much negativity, it can be scary when you begin the search for a childcare facility for your children while you work.  The good news is that there are things parents can keep their eyes open for that will help ensure their children are safe while they are at work.  Here are some of the qualities to look for in childcare staff.




Let’s face it, virtually everyone has social media.  Most individuals do not set privacy settings on their social media.  If it is posted online, it’s public information.  You can tell a lot about a person’s character and values by the things that they post online.  For this reason, you can simply google the childcare staff and see what you can find.  You can also ask individuals that you know with children in the same facility. 

Ask them about the staff and see what they think.  Ask about how their children feel about the staff working with them if their children are old enough to give opinions.  You can also typically find reviews and comments online, and many will list the teacher of the child and things the parents liked or disliked about the teacher.  Online ratings are also typically indicative of the staff, as this is typically the main interaction parents have with a childcare facility.  




Another thing that you want to look for in childcare staff is the training and qualifications of the staff.  You can ask about the requirements the facility have in place for their staff.  Find out what type of training the staff is required to go through before being placed with the children.  Ask about what type of training the teachers have regarding stress management.  Taking care of one two-year-old is stressful for most adults.  Imagine taking care of a classroom of them.  Anyone is bound to get frustrated and anxious.  This is normal.  You want to understand how the staff is trained to deal with these situations and if they have the support they need to protect the children in the classroom.  You also want to know about any type of educational and/or certification requirements that are put in place for the staff and what type of background checks are being run on the staff.  Find out as much information about your child’s teacher as possible.  




Another way that you can gain information about the staff at the daycare is to conduct personal interviews.  It is recommended to do this in person.  More times than not, in person interviews are going to provide more information.  They give you the opportunity to interview verbally and non-verbally.  Individuals normally say more by their non-verbal forms of communication than with words.  You want to get a feel for the person’s personality. 

As you interview them, look for signs of their personality.  To get the feeling that this individual is nurturing?  Are they warm? Are they opening?  Is this someone your child is going to feel comfortable with?  Is your child going to be able to tell them if something is wrong?  Do you get the feeling that they care about their work?   Ask questions about their qualifications and why they chose childcare as a profession.  

When you ask this question, if they say they simply needed a job, you may want to consider if they just took the first job available.  When it comes to interviewing staff, you want to make sure that you at least interview the daycare director and speak with the teacher that will be with your child.  This will provide your insight of the individuals that will be around your children the most.  If you are comfortable with them, chances are your children will be as well.  




Common Signs of a Poorly Run Childcare Facility


Finding the right Childcare Center is a difficult task for every parent.  The task is especially difficult for first-time parents who have never been through the process before.  The task of looking for the right Childcare facility can be quickly overwhelming.  Parents experience a lot of stress and anxiety over if the Childcare facility they are looking at is right for their child and if their children will be safe while they are at work.  Here are some signs of a poorly run Childcare facility that will help parents know when to run.

No Licensure

There are only rare situations in which a Daycare does not have to be licensed.  Typically, Daycares are required to be licensed to hold the facility accountable for the safety of the children that they provide care for.  There is a minimum requirement for licensure set by the state and the Daycare is required to meet these standards.  If you do not see a license posted on the wall, inquire about whether the facility is licensed.  If they say they are, ask to see a copy of it.  Most states have a list of licensed facilities for the state.  Accredited facilities are also good options.  It is not required for a facility to be accredited, however, it does show initiative and shows that the daycare is held to a higher standard of accountability.

Over Classroom Ratios


There are times that you walk in and find a teacher in a classroom full of children.  You may not think anything of it as first.  It happens at every business.  Someone gets sick or hurt and the facility is quickly understaffed.  However, having too many children in a class with not enough supervision is a safety threat.  There are ratios put in place to ensure the safety of the children.  Make sure that you know the required ratios for the provider and when you are touring the facility check that they are keeping to those ratios.


As you tour the facility pay attention to the cleanliness of the facility.  A clean facility shows that they take pride in their work.  Also, unclean facilities pose a safety risk to the child.  It poses a risk to their health as well.  Keep in mind that facilities are full of kids and are going to get messy from time to time.  However, if they facility is continuously unclean, then you should worry.  Also, if there is no clear schedule or structure you should worry.  With that many children, having an organization is critical in maintaining safety.  There are also different skills and developmental goals that should be worked on while your child is at the facility.  Not having a clear schedule indicates that these skills are not a priority at the facility.

Lack of Training


Daycare staff should be trained.  You want to make sure that the staff has the necessary certifications needed to work with children and that background checks are being conducted to ensure the safety of the child.  You also want to know how often staff is training.  No one is ever perfect and there is always room for improvement.  Find out how often training occurs and what types of training take place.  If there is no training whatsoever, you should be concerned.

Lack of Communication


One of the biggest red flags that you can find is a lack of communication between you and the daycare.  If there is a time of the day you are told you cannot come by, you should worry.  Your child is going to be in that facility and you should be able to come to no matter what time of day it is.  They may say they prefer you not to come during nap time, but if they forbid it you should wonder why.  When your child is in the facility, you should also receive some type of report on your child at regular intervals and the staff should be communicating with you when you pick-up and/or drop-off your child.  If they are not, you should be concerned.



Childcare Facilities: The Division of Classrooms and Why It Matters


Finding the right daycare facility is a complicated and frustrating task.  It is essential to know how the classrooms are divided.  There are many different things that a parent should look at when it comes to the division of classrooms.  It is important because the way a childcare classroom is divided has a direct impact on the quality of the childcare facility.  When there are too many children under the supervision of just one person, it put the worker at a higher risk of becoming overwhelmed and frustrated, which can become a risk to the children.  There can also be a risk to the children based on the age groups being put together.  For example, placing two-year-old children in the class with infants can increase the risk of harm to the children. 

Not only will the workers quickly become overwhelmed with the varying needs, but they are unable to pay attention to a group of children every single second.  With the varying ages of needs, abilities, and behaviors, this could put a child more at risk.  You also want to consider how the division of classroom settings vary when a child has special needs.  Here are some of the specific things you should look for and how it can affect the quality of care being provided to your child.




One way that Preschools and Daycares divide their classrooms is by the ages of the children.  First off, Preschools and Daycares are not the same things.  Preschool is aimed at the older early childhood group and the goal is to teach them skills necessary to start school.   Daycares provide care for children while their caregivers are at work.  Daycares typically take children from infancy up to school age.  There are daycares that will provide care for older children during the summer months.  Most age groups are divided based on the age and skill set of the child at that age.  Generally, infants are in a room together.  This is normally from birth up to 12 months (or less).  Some daycares move children from the infant room when they begin to walk.  As children begin to develop skills, they require a higher level of attention.  To keep the infants safe, toddlers typically have their own room.  Some daycares will put children 12- 24 months in a room together.  Then there will be a 2-year-old room, a 3-year-old room, and a 4-year-old room.  

Children are divided based on age so that their individual developmental needs can be met based on their age and to protect the safety of the children.  There are times where children will stay in the infant room until 18 months and 18 months-3 will be in the same room.  The important thing is to look at the teacher to child ratio, the age and skills of the child, and whether the staff is meeting the needs of the children.




Classrooms are also divided based on the number of children in the class.  Ratios vary from one location to the next.  It is important to know the ratios required by law for your setting.  For example, in some states, the infant teacher ratio is 1:5.  If there are more infants in the room, another teacher is required to ensure the children are safe.  There are also square foot ratios.  A child care classroom is required to be so many square feet per child and the facility is required to have a specific number of bathrooms per child.  This is to ensure that the needs of the children are being met, the teachers do not become overwhelmed, and the children are safe.  It is critical that these ratios are being followed.  If you find out that a childcare setting is not following these ratios it is important for you to consider the increased risk to the child.


Special Needs


Finally, if you have a child with special needs, it is important to understand that federal law mandates they are mainstreamed in the less restrictive environment.  Placing these children in separate classrooms is against the law and is discrimination.  Find out how the special needs of your child affect the required ratios and make sure the facility is willing to accommodate your child.