By Karen Fogolin, Associate Director
Minnesota Child Care Resource and Referral Network
As parents and caregivers, we have always known, and research has confirmed, that good early experiences are important in the healthy development of our children. Although you are the most important person in your child's life, the relationship your child has with his caregiver will also affect how he feels about himself and the world around him as he grows. Choosing a caregiver is one of your most important tasks as a parent. High quality child care can have a positive impact on a child's overall development.
Licensed child care programs are expected to meet basic requirements, providing settings that are safe and healthy, and staffed by adults who have some training or experience in caring for children. You must rely on your own assessment to determine the quality of care.
Some indicators of high quality care include:
- Training in child development: The caregiver should understand how children develop, their stages of growth and their behavior at various ages. Although specialized training is a key indicator of quality, the provider should have both training and experience.
- Smaller group size: Children benefit from the more individualized attention possible in smaller groups.
- The program is focused on children's needs: Caregivers are prepared to meet children's physical, social, intellectual and emotional needs as the children grow and change. Differences among children's cultures and needs are respected and celebrated.
- The care is consistent: Consistent care is the foundation for healthy development, building the child's security, confidence and a sense of well-being. A regular caregiver and minimal turnover in staff are essential elements of high-quality child care.