By Ann Douglas
From the print edition, March 2012
1. The centre has developed a mission statement that expresses its values and beliefs about caring for children. And the statement is in synch with your parenting philosophies.
2. When you drop by for a visit, the children are fully engaged in play and the early childhood educators are fully engaged with them.
3. The environment is rich in high-quality learning materials that are designed to encourage children to learn through discovery. Think art supplies and building blocks rather than toys that can only be played with in a particular way.
4. The early childhood educators know how to support children’s cognitive development and language acquisition in age-appropriate ways. In other words, it’s a flash-card-free zone.
5. The program emphasizes the development of soft skills, such as being able to think for yourself and to get along with other people. Sixty percent of the jobs of tomorrow haven’t even been invented yet, so there’s no point emphasizing occupational skills training for the preschool set.
6. Program staff make a point of communicating with parents on a daily basis—via notebooks sent home in backpacks or other similar systems. Trying to debrief a parent about his child’s day at pickup time in a busy child-care setting doesn’t work as well as jotting down notes throughout the day.
7. The centre is so inviting that you wish you were a child again so that you could be the one who gets to stay all day and play.
1. Talk up child care to your family members and...