Is Your Daycare Prioritizing Developmental Growth?
Chooing a daycare can be one of the most stressful tasks for new parents. It’s hard to find a perfect daycare. However, a daycare that prioritizes gross motor, fine motor, and speech skills is worth looking for. I’ve created this simple guide of things to look for in daycares that do foster this development in your Little’s early life.
Most daycares will allow you to tour the facility (virtually or in person) before you sign all the papers. If you are not able to tour the daycare for some reason, ask these questions! It also helps to find a daycare with cameras with a live feed. After your child starts at this daycare, you can make sure they’re holding their word when they say that they are doing certain things!
*Please note: if your child is using containers at daycare and is learning new skills on an appropriate timeline, don’t worry about container usage! BUT- if your little one is using containers AND delayed with skills, decreasing container usage will help!
Pay attention to where all the kids are. Are they on the floor, playing freely and interacting with eachother? Or are they kept separate, in containers? Are kids in their cribs when they’re not sleeping or in their high chairs when they’re not eating? Keep in mind that there are multiple kids and only some teachers, so being in the crib after waking up for a couple minutes is okay, but we don’t want to see them in cribs all day!
The kinds of equipment you see are also important to make mental note of. Do you see a nice big floor mat with a baby gate if needed? Or do you see lots of bouncers, rockers, swings and other equipment that limits movement? I like to look for foam play pieces too, that encourage climbing, and some sort of activity table that will encourage kneeling and standing.
What are the employees like that work there? Did you know that 1 trained adult should not care for more than 3-4 infants? Pay attention to the student:teacher ratio. More teachers gives your kid more opportunity for interaction with teachers.
Now, I’m not saying you need the fanciest toys at your daycare. That’s not it at all. But you do want to look at the variety of toys. Are there some that are stable and can be played with in one spot (rattles, stacking cups, pop toys)? Are there also some that are movement motivated (walking toys, pull toys, wind up toys, rolling toys)? This is the kind of mix we want to see, as stable toys are good for learning to sit, but mobile toys are good for learning
to crawl. If you see activities and crafts on the calendar, this is a great sign that kids are getting social interaction, speech and fine motor development as well!
With all this info, you may not be able to find a perfect daycare for you. That’s okay, but let’s be clear. You are the parent, and if you have concerns about what you see in a daycare classroom, don’t be afraid to speak up!
If you see on the live stream that your child is in a swing a lot and it doesn’t jive with you, ask the teacher to put them on the floor as much as possible. Most daycare teachers are very understanding. It may be necessary at times to put your kid in that swing, but they will be more conscious about using it when only necessary and prioritizing floor time.
With a little research, some coffee, and a prayer, you will find the right daycare for you!