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Parents and Guardians Forum>What Do Parents Look For in a Daycare?
casg415 08:00 PM 09-09-2010
I understand there are several factors to consider while choosing the right day care for your child. Safey, cleanliness, and a loving individual are my top 3 choices. Aside from those three what else do parents look for?
Michael 10:08 PM 09-09-2010
This is what we encourage parents to look for:
Unregistered 02:45 PM 10-24-2010
My first daycare was a large national chain that closed abruptly with only a 3 week notice. That didn't give us much notice to search for new, so we were quickly blended in with the other location in town, not by our choice. A year later, we voluntarily looked for other care - hadn't done so in years, but learned a lot in those years we were already in daycare.
1. Besides what lists, I look for verification of daycare director's credentials. Current one has admitted lieing to us just to get business - her inexperience shows in her unprofessional communication style and her punitive punishments for small infractions of rules. She said she'd just closed her center a year ago during our tour - found out this week she hasn't owned a center in 10 years. This would mean she was in her mid twenties when she last owned her in home center - hardly the makings of a stellar small center director who hasn't worked daycare for 10 years. Trust me, the way she handles situations really shows her lack of experience in a cente environment for those of us who've been in the large/small center system for years.
2. I also look for how the director handles herself - ultimately, if we're unsatified, this is the person we're going to have conferences with and this is the person who is going to be the decision maker and policy changer. Again, current one rubbed us the wrong way, but room teacher was wonderful, so we took a risk. We got burned - teacher quit after only working a few more weeks and director hired inexperienced teachers and bad mouthed previous teacher. We should have listened to our instincts, because director ended up being a nightmare in public relations - I can't believe she's running a daycare. She should be running a group home for troubled teanagers, not innocent little learning preschoolers! Ugh! She's fitting for a drill instructor, not preschoolers.
3. I also look for how they answer their phones. If they are too busy to answer the phone while we're there touring and no one else answers, don't expect them to ever answer the phone. Ended up being true. Current daycare has never answered the phone when I've called and I try to call and get through several times per week. Director doesn't answer her cell phone either. Messages aren't returned either. I've had several emergencies that never got tended to. Messages aren't relayed to teachers either.
4. I also look for what other forms of communication do they use - do they have a fax machine and email and a copy machine? Fax machines are the main way doctor's offices communicate with daycares. Snail mail could make a big difference in a timely situation. Current daycare doesn't have a fax machine and we've had a nightmare getting doctor's things to her - there's no verification for the doctor's office that it's been received by the daycare and daycare never tells us. Copy machines help with required forms. Current daycare told me I should be printing off medication froms from state site rather than asking them for them weekly - sorry, I guess my tuition doesn't cover that.
5. I look for how they document aggressive behavior and injuries. Do they document everything or only visible injuries? My current one only documents visible injuries - I've witnessed children being beaten up by school agers on the playground and my daycare feels that boys will be boys and never told the parents. Well, I did and they were super mad. If parents never find out if their kids are getting hit multiple times daily, then how do know why they moods are changing at home and otherwise? How will they know why their kid is suddenly being aggressive when he never has before? Getting beat up daily and being too afraid to say anything about it make a child's self esteem low and their risk for picking up aggressive behavior high. I think all daycares should document every aggressive behavior given and received for all parents involved. My current daycare feels this would be too much work.
6. Does the daycare allow child to call parents if having a bad day and want mommy? All DCPs I've used so far haven't - would have saved them a big headache if they had. Can't stress this enough - DCPs need to let kids talk to their parents during the day if they need to. My DCP has in room telephones so there's no excuse. I can't imagine why they won't let him call me if he's having a bad day. I think DCP doesn't want my kid to report DCPs bad behavior during the day - if kid forgets by end of day, they're in the clear!
7. How does DCP handle aggressive situations? Do they interview everyone involved and consider all of the facts or only go by the last thing they saw a child do? My child is getting beat up at daycare and he's defending himself. They only go by last thing seen and don't interview, which is ridiculous. In 99.9% of the cases, he'd been hit, slapped, scratched, bitten, kicked, pushed, etc before he'd done anything. Can't resolve anything if don't know that other kids are hurting my kid.
8. How positive are reports? Are you only getting negative reports? All kids do mostly positive things during the day. Sure, they do negative things, but how much do they play up their strengths and not their weaknesses. This is self esteem building. Mine provides all negative reports - found out through teachers that director insists that entire day is terrible if child does one small infraction of rules. Hideous!
9. Get references of past customers, not current ones. Go by what they tell you - most of past customers can and will be honest - current ones won't be for fear of retailiation. This is my biggest mistake. I should have asked for past customer referrals.
10. Are kids being supervised in all areas of playground? Teachers at good daycares will be spread throughout the playground, not talking with themselves by the door. Good daycares won't have hidden areas where kids can hide and hurt others, like large bushes or air conditioners in the middle of the area. My daycare says teachers can't spread out because they have paperwork to complete while kids are outside and can't supervise children while out there. Older kids are hiding behind bushes and air conditioner and beating up younger kids.
11. What's the menu like? Is it filled with mixes and fast food and sold as healthy? Are snacks only saltines or crackers and juice every day? Menus should have a variety - remember that menus for kids don't have to read like a health food store to be healthy. Kids require more fat and calories than adults do relative to their size and activity. Menus should reflect variety and should change with the season. If the same 7 things are rotated through because their cheapest thing the food service company sells, look elsewhere. Kids will start getting constipation and will only want to eat fast food style items. Current daycare menu lunch is more fast foodish than I'd like, but otherwise, the breakfast and snacks are above par in comparison to other schools. I wish they change it more with the season, but their menu is better than most by comparison.

There's so much more I could tell you, but these are the others that most don't think of that cause parents the most headaches. Needless to say, we're considering looking for a new daycare. Hope my post helps you think outside the box.
Candyland 05:14 AM 12-04-2010
Originally Posted by Unregistered:
My current one only documents visible injuries - I've witnessed children being beaten up by school agers on the playground and my daycare feels that boys will be boys and never told the parents. Well, I did and they were super mad.
that part about telling the parents made me chuckle, because I'm that parent!!!
Candyland 05:18 AM 12-04-2010
A big tell-tale sign is to watch the children and see how they are responding to their teachers/providers. Do they love their teacher/provider? Are they happy? What is their overall attitude in class at that moment? Are they interacting with the others around them? Just exactly, what are they doing?
When I'm talking with the teacher, I'm also scanning the environment to get a feel of the place in that moment.
Unregistered 09:13 PM 01-26-2011
Sounds to me like you may be high maintenance ...I mean you're on center number 3 and looking for another center. Instead, take the good with the bad and ask Director's to address your concerns. They are valid...mostly.
Tags:daycare evaluation
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