Choosing childcare is one of the most important decisions you will ever make for your child. Research increasingly tells us that the first years of a child’s life are critical to shaping their future health and development.
At New Horizon Academy, we understand that high-quality childcare and education in the early years can make a positive difference for the future of your child. By making a thoughtful decision now, you can help your child develop the skills needed to be successful in school.
To help you make the best decision for your child, researchers have identified quality indicators with information on what to look for and ask about to find out if the program you are considering will be a safe, healthy, and nurturing learning environment for your child. Use our handy checklist to assist you in finding the best program for your family: Quality Childcare Checklist.
Here are a few tips to help you make this important decision:
Location, Location, Location.
Select a location that best fits the needs of your family. Keep in mind that you will visit the childcare center twice a day, every day. So, select a school that is near your home or one that is on your way to work. Some families prefer to select a childcare center near their home, while others prefer a daycare center near their work or on their commute to work. How long do you want your child to be in the car? Do you have early meetings, and closer to home would be more convenient for your family? Create a plan that is best for your family.
Determine What Is Most Important to Your Family.
Take time to identify what are the most important features for your family. Whether it is a healthy and safe environment, or you want your child to be well-prepared school, make a list and look for those qualities when you tour potential childcare centers. Use the New Horizon Academy Checklist to help you get started. Quality Childcare Checklist.
Health and Safety.
You place your trust in a childcare provider to care for your child while you are at work, so it is important that you look at the health and safety of each daycare. Here are a few things to look for:
● Does the childcare program have a secure entrance?
● Does the program have health and safety practices for staff and children in place? Ask them about their health and safety practices.
● Does the childcare program appear clean and safe?
● If the childcare program serves food, does it meet nutritional standards?
Check Out Their Credentials.
Check out their status with state licensing regulations. Determine their compliance with state quality rating systems. Colorado uses a system called Colorado Shines. A Colorado Shines rating (Levels 1-5) means the program is licensed, in good standing with the state, meets health and safety standards, and is regularly monitored. Programs with higher ratings (Levels 3-5) have completed a process to show quality programs and practice in health and safety, staff are well-trained and effective, provides supportive learning environment, includes a parent partnership program, and demonstrates good business practices.
Is the daycare center accredited? Accreditation is an important distinction awarded to schools who exhibit compliance with the highest standards of quality in childcare and early education programs. Only 6 percent of early childhood programs nationwide are accredited.
Make sure the childcare you select for your child is accredited. Doing so will ensure the daycare your child will attend provides a safe and healthful environment for children, has teachers who are highly qualified and well-trained, uses a curriculum that promotes school-readiness, upholds standards that far exceed state licensing requirements, and implements best practices in early childhood education.
Tour the Childcare Center.
It is important to visit daycare centers to find the one that is best for your family. Meet the director, visit the classroom where your child will spend their day, check out the lesson plans to see what your child will learn, review the menu, and look for nutritious food items, not just kid-friendly food items, observe the teacher and see how they respond to the children, check out what the children are doing, examine the cleanliness and organization of the classroom, determine if the center is accredited, ask about their licensing record, research how they communicate with families, and finally, strive to get an overall feeling and understanding of the school.
Trust Your Instincts.
You are the expert on what is best for you, your child, and your family. Touring schools provides you with insights into what childcare centers have to offer, and one will feel right for your family. One where you feel welcomed, understood, appreciated, and supported as you navigate child rearing. One that will be your partner in helping your child grow to their fullest potential.
We believe that the best place for your child is New Horizon Academy, but whatever decision your family makes about early care and education, it is vital that your child’s first learning experiences be of the highest quality.
Visit our website to learn more about the programs at New Horizon Academy.
About New Horizon Academy
New Horizon Academy, a family-owned company, has been serving families since 1971. It provides highly-trained teachers, a proven curriculum, and safe and secure facilities, all aimed at supporting children’s self-esteem and preparing them for kindergarten and beyond. New Horizon Academy is a nationally recognized, high-quality early learning provider with all eligible schools accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (“NAEYC”), the gold standard in its industry. To learn more about New Horizon Academy, call (763) 557-1111 or visit www.NewHorizonAcademy.net.