The Makings of a great child care center: What makes them unique?

When parents and guardians of young children set out to look for child care options, they often do so without a clear understanding of what to look for. This is especially true if it’s your first experience searching for child care. Thankfully, there are several features and characteristics that you can look for. The next time you, or someone you know, are searching for Silver Spring child care center options, perhaps this information will help get you to a great start.

Assessing “Quality”

Parents looking for child care options may often remark: “I’m looking for good quality child care for my child”. The term “quality” is an aspirational construct, and might vary in its assessment of one child care setting from another. So, the question is: When assessing child care centers in Silver Spring MD, how will parents and guardians recognize it when they do find a high-quality environment?

The answer: Look for specific features and traits in each center you evaluate! And here are three indicators you must look for – specifically:

  • Staff-Children Interactions: As a parent, you want your child to interact only with teachers and educators that care for kids. To assess those interactions doesn’t require review of lengthy reports or perusing glossy booklets and pamphlets with pictures of smiling kids. All that’s required is in-person observations. Look for staff that are sensitive to the children they work with, and who are always responsive to their needs. When you see that…you’ll know you’ve found quality!
  • Approved Curriculum: Witnessing a caring and responsive environment, at the Silver Spring child care center you visit, is a sign of better things to look for. There’s another important factor to assess that will assure you of high-quality care. It’s important to assess the curriculum followed by the center. A truly high-quality child care environment must follow State-approved teaching programs. That’s the only way to assess the standard of the quality of care your child can expect at the center.
  • Health, Fitness and Nutrition: Make sure the centers you assess also focus on the health and wellbeing of your child. Ask about their health and wellness protocols, and inquire about the types of snacks and meals and physical and play activities offered.

If you are satisfied of the high-quality of these three indicators, then there’s every confidence that you’ve found the right care and learning environment for your child.

The Seal of Quality

While the above 3-point check list will serve you well, on your quest for quality child care, there’s one important factor that’ll provide the stamp of high quality – staff! Quality can’t happen without high-quality staff. So, when assessing child care centers in Silver Spring MD for quality, it’s important to ask about the training, certification and credentials of the teachers and educators working there. Are they board certified? Do they receive ongoing training? Is the center’s administration diligent about continuing education of their staff?

Early childhood care and education environments have a major impact on foundational development of a child. The higher the quality of that foundation, the better it will set children up for social, academic and professional success later in life. And the building blocks of that success begins with high-quality child care.