What is High-Quality Child Care?

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Sunday October 2 2016

What is High-Quality Child Care?It's a fact. Research shows that high-quality child care plays a positive and long-lasting role in the social and intellectual development of children, no matter what their social, cultural and economic background.

Lack of access to high-quality child care can place a lot of stress on working parents. They may worry about their children's well-being while at work, and they may experience conflicts with employers and co-workers due to lateness or absences. Lack of high-quality child care also keeps women from entering and participating fully in the paid labour force.

But what does high-quality care look like?

Whether it is provided in a home or group setting, high-quality child care has common features: 

  • A nurturing, warm environment
  • Small group sizes to ensure that children receive individual attention and are encouraged to interact co-operatively
  • Programming that is appropriate to the children's ages, stimulating and enjoyable
  • Age-appropriate toys and creative materials that encourage learning through play
  • Inclusive care for children with special needs
  • Respect and appreciation for individual and cultural diversity
  • A safe and hygienic environment
  • Nutritious snacks and meals
  • Non-profit care, so that all funding goes directly into serving the children

 

High-quality child care providers foster good relationships with parents, this means that:

  • The program's child care philosophy is clear and discussed with parents
  • Parents are welcome to visit the program anytime
  • Parents and caregivers understand and agree about their respective roles and responsibilities
  • Parents receive daily reports about their child
  • There's a willingness to listen to and act on parents' concerns

 

Caregivers are the key to quality. Look for the following:

  • Well-qualified, experienced caregivers
  • Caregivers who relate to children with sensitivity, understanding and warmth
  • Caregivers who communicate openly and consistently with parents about their children
  • Caregivers who have worked in a centre or provided care in their home for a long time, so that children can form stable and secure relationships with them
  • Adequate compensation and working conditions to attract and keep good caregivers

 

Parents should insist on high-quality child care. Everybody benefits from high-quality child care—not just children and parents but all levels of society. It's the key to healthy early development. Don't settle for less. It's what your children and your family deserve.