Does your childcare measure up?
All parents do it. We measure our kids. We measure them against siblings, other kids in the park, at preschool, and even with relatives. Indeed, it is human nature to compare, contrast and evaluate. It is a sign of good parenting… to question, to wonder, to learn, and be thoughtful about our choices. What about your preschool? Does your child’s early childhood education measure up and help them build the essential skills they will need to succeed in school for years to come? Will your child be ready for elementary school? This is it; the most important brain development happens under the age of 8 years old. When evaluating an early childcare education center, consider the following:
Return on Investment
Early childhood is this amazing age of 0-8 years old. A great early childhood education has proven to be far more important of an investment than saving up for college. If you put in the dollars now, you will put fewer dollars into education later. For every $1 spent in high-quality early childhood education, we see a $4- 49 return. THIS IS HUGE! The argument for high-quality early education is not only an educational or moral argument, it is a financial one. Nobel Prize-winning economist, James Heckman, has researched and written extensively on investments in early childhood.
Check out his website with a wealth of resources in video and print. https://heckmanequation.org/
What makes an Early Childcare Education Center HIGH QUALITY???
What is the teacher-to-child ratio and what the heck does that mean even? We are talking about how many children are in a class with how many teachers. This is vitally important to your child’s growth and development. In fact, this statistic directly correlates to the attention and care your child will receive throughout the day. The ideal ratios for each age group of children in a Preschool according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) are the following:
(Source: NAEYC – https://www.naeyc.org/sites/default/files/globally-shared/downloads/PDFs/accreditation/early-learning/staff_child_ratio_0.pdf )
Individualized Curriculum and Assessment
How do the teachers know your child? When the ratio is low, teachers can work one on one with children. Consequently, this enables teachers to conduct informal and formal assessment of skills in language, math, science, problem solving, social and emotional skills. Teachers who are aware and are documenting children’s skills can then tailor the curriculum and activities in the classroom to enhance individual learning. This is an essential part of helping children reach their full potential at every stage of learning.
Teacher and Administration Education
Years of research in quality early childhood education has shown a direct correlation between the level of education of the teachers and administrators and the quality of learning and development of the children. Further, it is essential the teachers and the people in charge of the program have college level education in early childhood education, child development, child psychology or education. Just any ‘ole degree will not do. In fact, studies show children benefit from teacher’s formal education in the field of early childhood.
Play is a Learning Necessity
Play in early childhood is important to brain development. Hands on learning experiences where children are allowed to handle, manipulate, and explore materials will support a stronger understanding of math, science, and language concepts. For instance, seeing a picture of an apple and tasting an apple are two very different experiences. Summing up, young children’s brains need concrete stimuli to develop.
Kindness and Love
All this list would be worthless if there was not a genuine love and kindness in the Preschool. This can be seen in teachers sitting on the floor with children in their arms, when a teacher is reading a story and the children are entranced, the eyes of the director light up when talking about what your child has done that day. You can see love and kindness in the everyday interactions between the children and staff. You can feel it in the air when you walk through the building.
The Right Place
Choosing the right place for your children to grow and develop is so important for their journey through school. Because you are reading this article and investigating, you are supporting your child’s growth. At Brighton Preschool we want each child to receive a world-class education, be loved while in our care and live up to their full potential as human beings!
License History and Accreditation Matter
All childcare centers operated in the State of Texas must be licensed through the Texas Health and Human Services, Department of Family and Protective Services. This license is the minimum standard of health and safety for childcare centers in the state. Moreover, this license provides centers with a basic framework of regulations to keep children healthy and safe in care.
License records are public knowledge and any licensed center’s records can be found by searching the state website.
Accreditation is going to the next level. Accredited Early Childcare Education Centers not only keep children healthy and safe, they provide robust guidance for providing cognitive, social and emotional care and education for young children. You want your child to be in a center that is accredited by an outside agency. Specifically, there are both state and national accreditation agencies.
The State of Texas has an accreditation system to define and ensure a program is providing high quality early childhood education and interactions. Early education centers apply and are observed through a rigorous process to gain a Texas Rising Star top 4-star rating. Brighton Preschool is a 4-star Early Childcare Education Center and is committed to providing the highest quality of care for children. https://texasrisingstar.org/parents/find-a-certified-program/
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is the gold standard of national accreditation programs. This non-profit organization conducts research and develops standards and criteria for the highest quality of care and education for young children. The association also credentials college Teacher Education programs. https://www.naeyc.org/our-work/for-families
Does your childcare, daycare, early learning center or preschool measure up? Does it provide your child with the support systems, developmental challenges and enhanced learning environment to give them the foundation for a life long learning journey?
Need a checklist? Check this out! https://childcare.gov/consumer-education/choosing-quality-child-care-tip-sheets