Young child gazes up at the sky wearing a black shirt.

And What to Look for in a Quality Daycare Centre

Not all daycares are created equal. Despite qualifications, professionalism, and care, child care centres may not always be the best fit for you and your child.

The issues might be minor like it’s location. If the daycare is too far out of your way, it will make it difficult to have a healthy work-life balance since you’ll end up spending too much time commuting. Other issues could be more problematic, like your child is having trouble adjusting to their new daycare, crying every day even after a few months.

Here are the common signs that your child’s daycare may not be right for them.

Five Signs the Daycare Isn’t A Good Fit

1. The Environment is Not Stimulating

A daycare without age-appropriate toys and activities to stimulate your child will not help your child’s development. Kids need stimulating interactions and interesting activities throughout the day to learn life skills and develop socially, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

You should be able to notice your child’s progress throughout the year, such as with new skills in thinking, language, coordination, and social situations.

Don’t be afraid to ask the daycare how it chooses its activities, if staff are trained, and if the daycare follows an educational philosophy and curriculum.

2. There is a Lack of Communication

There needs to be an open line of communication between parents and daycare staff to discuss a child’s progress and any other concerns. Parents should also have the opportunity to talk to other parents at the daycare.

If you have difficulty scheduling a meeting with staff or management, or they dismiss your concerns, the daycare is not following the best business practices, and they may not be providing your child with the best care. Without communication, parents can’t ensure that their children’s needs are being met.

3. Your Child Keeps Crying

While separation anxiety is normal for kids who are new to daycare, your child should become accustomed to their daycare routine after six to eight weeks. There are several separation anxiety tips for parents available to help you and your child through this transition.

If your child keeps crying at drop-off and the staff can’t give you a reason for this behaviour, it could be a sign that your child is unhappy at the daycare.

Sometimes caregivers don’t give children the emotional support they need. So instead of comforting kids who are sad, in need of attention, or being bullied, the child’s emotional needs are being ignored.

4. The Daycare is Understaffed & Underqualified

If the daycare is understaffed, the staff aren’t trained in early childhood education (ECE), or there is a high turnover rate for staff, there could be problems with the program.

Ideally, all daycare staff should have ECE training. There should also be one staff member for every three to five young children and one for every seven to ten older children. Without a sufficient amount of adequately trained staff, your child’s needs, skills, and development may not be adequately nurtured.

5. The Daycare Has Poor Health & Safety Protocols

You should be concerned if the daycare isn’t clean or safe for your child. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you know if the staff members follow health and safety precautions, such as sanitation, First Aid training, and fire drills?
  • Is the daycare centre and playground secure and fenced in so kids can’t wander off and strangers can’t come in?
  • Are children safe from accidents, such as from furniture and falls?
  • Is your kid frequently getting sick from other kids at daycare?

Five Characteristics of a High-Quality Child Care Centre

1. Trained, Qualified Staff

Look for daycares who only hire staff with no criminal backgrounds, and who are trained and certified in early childhood education, First Aid, and CPR. There should also be a high ratio of qualified staff to children to ensure adequate supervision and care.

These qualifications ensure your child will be safe and receive the best care in an environment that stimulates their development.

2. The Daycare Follows a Curriculum

A quality daycare in Ottawa will follow a curriculum based on educational philosophies and guidelines, such as the Government of Ontario’s Early Learning for Every Child Today (ELECT) guidelines.

The curriculum will use age-appropriate activities that focus on physical, emotional, social, and cognitive education and skills development.

3. The Daycare Follows Proper Health & Safety Protocols

Child care centres must be clean and safe for children.

These are the basic safety protocols every daycare should have implemented in their facility:

These are the health protocols that should be observed by daycare staff:

  • The staff should promote proper hand washing.
  • Toys and surfaces should be cleaned on a regular basis to maintain a clean, sterilized environment for children.
  • The daycare should also ask parents to keep sick kids at home to avoid infecting other children and staff.

4. The Daycare Provides Progress Reports

Daycare educators should maintain and provide detailed progress reports to parents. These help educators record a child’s progress and tailor lessons to suit a child’s specific needs.

5. The Staff is Easy to Talk To

Along with providing regular progress reports to parents, daycare staff should be friendly, encourage constructive communication, and actively listen to parents. Open dialogue allows parents to inform staff of a child’s needs and for staff to keep parents updated on their child’s behaviour and development.

How Does Child Care Affect Child Development?

The quality of child care can either promote or hinder a child’s development. If kids aren’t receiving quality care, education, and stimulation through age-appropriate activities, their skills development may lag behind their peers.

A high-quality daycare that promotes early childhood education will help kids learn and develop in a safe, caring, and stimulating environment.

Why is ECE Important?

Early childhood education at daycare is an essential factor to helping kids develop the skills they need to thrive in life at every stage. This includes social, cognitive, emotional, and physical skills. Through stimulating play and age-appropriate activities, kids can learn and grow.

If your child’s educational, safety, and emotional needs aren’t being met, consider bringing your child to a quality daycare that will help them develop in a safe, secure, and caring environment.