Selecting the right early care and education setting for their family is one of the most challenging and important decisions parents face. What exactly does quality child care look like?
Using the Quality Matters rating criteria and framework, here are the top seven elements of quality to look for or ask child care providers about when selecting quality child care for your child:
- Teacher-Child Interactions: Providers that interact positively with the kids in their care.
- Ratio and Group Size: Small group sizes and a small number of kids to every adult.
- Learning Activities: A mix of creative, fun and educational activities that are right for a child’s age and help them learn new skills.
- Staff: Warm and knowledgeable staff who have a lot of training and rarely quit. Providers have taken classes or earned degrees in Early Childhood Education.
- Environment: A rich learning environment with varied materials, activities and routines. Areas are healthy, clean and safe.
- Program (or Curriculum): Providers use a curriculum to meet learning needs and may hold parent-teacher conferences.
- Child Health & Development: Providers make sure children receive health screenings and that children are developing on track.
Other resources to help families locate quality child care:
Contra Costa Child Care Council: (925) 676-5442
They offer free child care referrals, online resources and tip sheets to help families find and choose care, financial assistance for low-income working families and more.
- What to look for in a child care program for each stage (infant, toddler, preschool)
- Things to look for when choosing child care:
- Checklist to help parents keep track of the answers during your search
- Checklist to help parents find and monitor the quality of their child care program