If you are just starting out on your first quest to find the right English speaking Daycare/Preschool for your kids, I hope that this post aids you in getting there. Its a basic guide, but it may be seen as a relevant position from which to start. There are a lot of things to consider when deciding on which English Daycare or Preschool to send your kids. The bulk of these can be broken down into seven main points. These are;
· Location of the English Daycare
· The English Daycare Facilities
· The English Daycare Fees
· Distance from home to the English Daycare
· The English Daycare Teachers
· Reputation of the English Daycare
· The English Daycare Program
1) Location of the English Daycare; Lets start with the first on the list, location. This is often the first thing parents will consider and this is often done in regard to safety. What are the safety concerns? Lets have a look. Firstly, is the school located on a busy main road? (a big problem if your child finds their way out the front door!) Is the school located on solid ground? (Stable ground will keep the building upright in the case of an earthquake) Also, how close is the daycare to local emergency and evacuation facilities?
2) The English Daycare facility; The facility itself is also another big thing at the top of most parents lists. A clean, safe facility with plenty of space is what most people are looking for. More often than not this has a lot to do with the buildings age. You also want good heating, ventilation and lighting. Are there smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in each room? Are power points covered? Are toddlers prevented from climbing the stairs? Another important question to consider is whether strangers can walk in off the street. It is also very important that the children have access to a stimulating outside play area on a daily basis.
3) The English Daycare fees; Unfortunately the daycare fees are an area where many young parents come unstuck. Some English Daycare operators are prone to having hidden fees, or overly complicated contracts which lock you in to paying overt amounts should you decide to leave. In many instances unsuspecting parents don't come to fully realize just how much money they will loose until this time. Don't get caught out, make sure you can leave the service anytime with your money still intact.
4) The distance from home to the English Daycare; This particular point has its own special relevance because it's the one point that needs to be considered in relation to all the other points. Everyone wants their daycare to be “close to home”. However, if the Daycare has most of the good qualities that you are looking for in a school, you could certainly consider it to be close, simply because the alternatives aren’t to your liking. Would you take your child to a poor Daycare/ Preschool purely as a matter of convenience? Most parents would not and will happily go the extra mile for their child’s safety and prosperity.
5) The English Daycare teachers; When it comes to childcare a teacher with a degree in mechanical engineering is not going to do you much good just on their own. They should at least be working alongside a Qualified Child Care teacher for guidance. Childcare is a serious business and it’s certainly not worth the risk to leave your child in the hands of unsupervised amateurs.
There is a very quick and easy way for parents to find out about the teachers at the school. By asking how long each teacher has been at the school, and their qualifications, you can build a rough idea about the culture of the school. School culture is something that is very hard to hide. If the teachers are all leaving after one year on the job, the culture is likely nonexistent with poor working conditions. This is bad, bad, bad, for your child. Good teachers emanate from a good working culture and this in turn will provide staff that have the incentive to continue working in the company. The longer they stay the more the more the teacher learns, resulting in a more stable childcare environment. This is exactly the type of environment your child needs to develop confidence and security.
How many qualified staff are there? Are they CPR Trained? Note how the staff interact with the children. Is the atmosphere welcoming and caring? Staff should be of good character, responsible, and enthusiastic.
6) The reputation of the English Daycare; If the school has been in business for more than three years then it has passed the first market test. Many poorly run businesses will not make it past this point. If it has been in business for ten years then it likely has a good reputation. Even fewer businesses last past the ten year mark. A business that has been going for fifteen or so years, and is still growing, likely has a very good reputation. Any business that has been going for this length of time will also have left a trail of reviews (good or bad) somewhere on the internet. Do your homework and see what you can dig up. If you have any concerns mention them at your school interview. It is also a good idea to approach other parents at pick up time to get their opinions.
All professional Schools will have established policies, regulations, and procedures for everything. (e.g. They should have a fairly strict sick child policy, a policy for allergies, hand washing, toileting procedures, etc ) If they refuse to openly show you all of these be cautious. While its not likely that they will provide you with full copies of their entire operation manual, they should at least be able to provide you with selected policies if you ask for them.
7) The English Daycare program; There are many different types of programs.
To sort through what’s best you need to have a clear understanding of what you most desire for your child. This may sound a little scary, but when it comes to childcare there is usually some form of unresolved problem that you can see your child facing as they mature. What sort of adult do you want to your child to grow into and what sort of world are they likely to be facing as adults? These are big and far reaching questions that we need to consider now, because while there are many factors that will determine the outcome, we need to remember that a great deal of a child’s personality and thinking is determined by their first eight years of life.
You get from point “A” to point “B” by making a series of decisions that best suit your child’s growing needs along the way. Selecting the childhood program is the very first important step along this path. For example, do you value creativity and a positive can do attitude? or is careful selective thinking your preference? How about a leaning towards mathematics? Daycare, preschools and kindergartens provide solutions towards these problems through the type of program they provide. As a very basic guide you want a stimulating daily routine, that involves outdoor play, quiet time (reading), and group and individual sessions that are developmentally appropriate.