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5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Daycare

Sponsored by Learning Care Group

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Choosing a daycare can be stressful and overwhelming for a parent. This is understandable—you're sending your sweet little one to be with people who aren't you! There's so much to think about, even when you've finally zeroed in on good-sounding options. To help a mama out, we've partnered with Learning Care Group (LCG)— the second-largest for-profit child care provider in North America. They provide early education and care services to children between the age of six weeks and 12 years under five unique brands.

School Environment

a young boy looking happy at childcare

Did you and your child find the school welcoming and inviting, a place where the staff engaged with children in a positive manner? And does it seem safe? Does the school have procedures for entering the building—and who comes and goes with your child? La Petite Academy, part of LCG, employs strictly enforced security procedures (secure lobbies and classrooms, PIN number entires and photo IDs, etc.). See how they handle this at the facility you're checking out.

Learning and Programs

a young toddler playing with some number toys

Though your child may be wee, it's never too early to start age-appropriate learning. Ask about the curriculum—what are they teaching the kids, what are their goals for these teachings, and are they tailoring these to their age and developmental stage? You'll also want to see plenty of time for free-play and a movement and fitness component—e.g., playing outside whenever possible. Also ask how you'll be kept in the loop about all of this: Do parents get regular updates about their child’s daily activities and developmental progress? Childtime, also a part of LCG, has a holistic approach to your child’s development that helps them reach their fullest potential. Visual displays chart your child’s progress, by documenting activities, lessons, and photos of your child learning. See if your daycare options have similar features.

Facility, Staff, and Materials

crayons sitting on top of a drawing of a happy sun

You've looked at the basic approach, now you'll want to assess the who, what, and where. Look at the following: 
- Are teachers trained and verified in CPR, first aid, and infection control?
- Are there regular procedures to prevent the spread of germs?
- Did you find the building, classrooms, and equipment clean and in good working order?
At Tutor Time, schools are staffed by child care professionals with the training, skills, and enthusiasm to create engaging learning environments that bring out your child’s best.

Food

fresh vegetables in the shape of a heart

What meals and snacks will be provided—and what's their quality? Do they align with your idea of healthy? Will they accommodate food allergies? Etc. At La Petite Academy, an LCG franchise, menus include a variety of foods that meet daily nutritional needs for young children.

Costs

a pink piggy bank on a wooden table

Of course, you want to know how much this is going to cost your family. Ask about any registration costs, the weekly rates, and what those cover. The price may sound great, but if they're not open summers and close every day at 2 and you need full-time care, filling in the gaps can get pricey. Make sure the cost/schedule balance works for you.

BONUS TIP: After taking all of this into consideration, check one last thing: your gut. Do you get a good overall feeling there? When you interact with caregivers? When you see the kids? If something feels "off," keep looking until you get a good feeling that will get even better over time as you relax, trust, and watch your child thrive.

 
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