|Q. My mother is currently watching my 18-month-old daughter. I think my daughter gets bored during the day or becomes too much of a handful for my mom. What is a good age to start her in a program?
A. You're right! Your toddler is developing physical skills, language and her natural curiosity at an astonishing rate. She will get into everything and is looking for a way to take charge of her little world. Enrolling her in a center based childcare center will allow her to explore with toys, climb, run and constantly "talk" in a safe and appropriate environment that is completely built for her. While there is nothing that takes the place of grandma, a family friendly program supports your daughter and gives grandma a chance to enjoy their time together.
Q. I see the words Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) in connection with childcare. What does it mean?
A. DAP is a philosophy base of a program. It means that each part of the program is developed for the age and stage of a particular child. Toys, books, materials, equipment, supplies and furniture are all carefully selected for the classroom environments of infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school-aged children. The curriculum is enthusiastically planned and implemented to be respectful, fun and stimulating for each age. Adult caregivers are academically trained and bring professionalism to all of their work with children and families.
Q. Is there a difference between a preschool program and kindergarten readiness?
A. While these titles are often synonymous, it is important to look at the curriculum, hours and philosophy of the program you are considering. Both titles are designed for children who will enter kindergarten the year after they attend the program. Typically, kindergarten readiness implies a curriculum that looks at kindergarten expectation and works "backwards," providing your child with experiences and activities that help prepare them for kindergarten. This is often incorporated into a full daycare program with specific scheduled time for skill focus along with extended, enrichment activities. Preschools also design activities around skills needed for kindergarten. The biggest difference tends to be hours of child contact. Often preschool programs run mornings or afternoons without extended day enrichment opportunities.
Q. What does it mean when a childcare center is "nationally accredited" by NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children)?
A. NAEYC accreditation is a guarantee to families that their child comes first. An accreditation certificate is a visible sign that a program is committed to research based goals for growth and development in physical, social, emotional, language and motor skills. An accredited center is staffed by licensed, professional adults and partners with parents to respectfully guide children through their earliest years.
Q. Are there standards or accreditations that exceed those set by NAEYC's criteria?
A. No. These standards are researched based, approved, referenced and implemented by leading professionals in early childhood education. A high quality education experience in a child's youngest years is a proven indicator for later school success. A NAEYC accredited program is nationally agreed upon as a child's best experience in care and education.
Q. Do children enrolled in childcare get sick more often than those who stay home?
A. No. NYS licensing mandates that a formal procedure be strictly followed to ensure hygienic, sanitary conditions in the facility. Centers must have a health policy for children and staff, and the NYS health department procedures designed for children in group settings are part of every day in every classroom. Curriculum that teaches healthy habits start with infants.
And Yes. Any place designated as a "group" setting (stores, churches, restaurants, schools), people will naturally share germs. Both children and adults never stop building immunities. Children who are placed in a childcare center build immunities to kindergarten illnesses prior to entering. Plus, children and adults in a childcare center learn to have the cleanest hands in the world!
Q. What is open-ended art?
A. Open-ended art your child's own design! The creation of art is emphasized over the end product. Children express themselves in many ways. By offering a variety of colors and materials, children discover their inner artist. Open-ended art is a learning experience. Children not only learn how to use a pair of scissors, blend colors and select materials, they also learn that their ideas and expressions are beautiful and not just a copy of an adult pattern.
Q. Are computers really beneficial in a childcare setting?
A. It depends on how they are incorporated into the curriculum. Research shows that when computers are integrated into an already language based classroom, there are significant benefits. Computers are tools that hold a child's interest in problem solving, letter manipulation, sequencing action and cooperative learning, all of which enrich a kindergarten readiness program. Computers should be an addition to a classroom, complementing the most important way a child learns: through human attachments and interactions. While computers are beneficial in classrooms for children 3 years and older, they are not appropriate for the infant and toddler rooms.
Q. We are just beginning the search for childcare for our 11-month-old twins. What are the three most important things we should hear from the director on a tour?
A. We’ve created a comprehensive, handy childcare checklist to help you and your family make the right decision. It lists all of the questions you should ask when visiting and researching a childcare facility.
Q. One childcare center is closer to home, one is closer to work. Which one should I go with?
A. There are two important things to consider when answering this question. First, which center is better for your child in terms of curriculum, enrichment and staff qualifications? If one of the centers is NAEYC accredited and the other is not, choose the accredited center. Second, decide if one center would cause a child to be rushed when dropping off or picking up, which can cause a stressful connection between home and center. If you or your child became ill during the day, how would you proceed with pick up? With a preschool child, does the center near home enroll children your child will go to kindergarten with? The choice is often difficult to make. Visit both centers for an extended time with your child; often you will be able to make a successful decision after that.
Q. What is the most recommended childcare program in the WNY area?
A. EduKids is recognized as the premier childcare program in WNY because of its NAEYC accredited centers, connections to professional organizations and higher education institutes, state-of-the art facilities and exceptional staff. The EduKids mission and vision is to warmly welcome each child and family into a program of excellence.