By Barbra Anderson-Richardson, Chief Branding Officer of The Sunshine House
It’s an important decision. The right foundation, provided by a quality early education program, makes a difference. Did you know adults who participate in early education programs are 80% more likely to attend college and earn 33% higher average salaries?* As if choosing the right childcare for your family wasn’t stressful enough!
So where do you start? How do you ensure your child will receive the same quality of care you give at home?
- Start as early as you can.
You should start looking at least 3 months before you need care. Why? Many infant and toddler rooms fill up quickly and have wait lists. Starting early means you can take your time through this process and not feel rushed to make a decision. And if your first choice is full, you can be added to their waiting list. A spot may open up just when you need it!
- Do your research.
Ask for recommendations from other parents (family, friends, co-workers) or your pediatrician or OB-GYN. Research your state’s ratings system and visit local resource and referral websites to see how different programs are rated. Finally, visit childcare provider websites to learn more about their hours, programs, and overall philosophy.
- Conduct telephone interviews.
Jot down your most important questions (i.e. availability, hours, price, ratios, licensing, curriculum, etc.), and screen schools over the phone. If a provider doesn’t meet your needs, simply cross them off the list and move on.
- Schedule tours.
Once you’ve narrowed down your candidates, schedule tours and be prepared to ask questions and observe in the classroom. If you aren’t sure which questions to ask, download our Tour Checklist. Take pictures when you tour and bring paper with you to take notes so you can refer back when making your decision.
- Make an informed decision.
Ask schools for references of current and former families, and take the time to contact them. Still unsure? Drop by the schools unannounced for another visit. And finally, trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right to you, the school probably isn’t the best fit for your family.
For additional tips and checklists to help you find the best childcare for your family, visit our website. Or find out more about The Sunshine House in your area.
At The Sunshine House Early Learning Academy, we’ve been honored that parents have trusted us with their children for more than 40 years. Our programs help your child reach their full potential, with school readiness, socialization, literacy, problem solving, and critical life skills at the center of our focus.
Find out why so many parents (and kids) love The Sunshine House! Schedule your tour today. We have 10 locations in Winston-Salem, Kernersville, High Point and Greensboro!
*Sources: First Five Years Fund, ReadyNation
*Sponsored by The Sunshine House