When you put your preschooler in a childcare program, you want to make sure they have fun and are well looked after. While things like curriculum and teaching style matter, there are several other factors that set a quality preschool program apart from its competition. Here are a few things to consider as you begin your search.
One of the first factors you should consider when looking for a quality preschool program is the environment. Is the childcare facility clean and safe? Do they have policies and standards they uphold? Are they certified? What about safety practices and background checks for employees? For example, here at Smoke Rise Childcare, all of our employees must receive a Child Abuse/Neglect (CA/N) background clearance through the Department of Human Resources (DHR), as well as a criminal background check conducted through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Alabama Bureau of Investigation (ABI). We also conduct physicals and T.B. tests on employees prior to beginning employment and we have them take regular health and safety training courses, including:
- Administration of Medication
- Building and Physical Premises Safety
- CPR and First Aid
- Emergency Preparedness and Response Planning
- Handling and Storage of Hazardous Materials
- Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases
- Prevention and Response to Emergencies
- Prevention and Safe Sleep Practices
- Prevention of Shaken Baby Syndrome and Abuse
- State of Alabama Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse.
Something else to observe when looking for a quality preschool program for your child is the staff. Are the staff nurturing, kind, and gentle? Do they demonstrate a love/passion for children? Also look at competency: do they know how to care for children? You should also look at the teacher/child ratio, as this can impact the kind of attention and care your child receives. Here at Smokerise Childcare, our “teacher-to-child” ratios are:
- 6 weeks up to 18 months: 1 to 5
- 18 months up to 24 months: 1 to 7
- 24 months up to 30 months: 1 to 8
- 30 months up to 4 years: 1 to 11
- 4 years up to school-age: 1 to 18
- School-age up to 8 years: 1 to 21
- 8 years and older: 1 to 22.
Sometimes it can be difficult to determine if the staff at a preschool are legitimately loving and caring. When in doubt, ask the community or parents of children who already attend.
Last but not least, the values that a preschool holds to are incredibly important because it directly impacts how they care for your child! Smoke Rise Childcare aims to provide children with a warm, nurturing place to play and learn. We seek to love each child and family as if they were our own. We also want the children who attend to see Jesus as we teach and care for their children. Jesus loved children! He didn’t see them as an inconvenience or a nuisance. He welcomed them into his presence (Matthew 19:14) and admonished those who tried to send them away.