High Quality Child Care-How Does My Child’s Center Measure Up?
Every young child deserves to have the best care possible. Here are some markers of a Quality Child Care Environment:
- The center is inspected by the State Fire Marshall and licensed by the State of Illinois.
- Early Childhood Educators are nurturing, caring adults, who are educated in early childhood development and well trained.
- A daily schedule is posted that includes a variety of age appropriateactivities with a mix of quiet time and active play, indoors and outdoors.
- There are frequent positive, warm interactions among adults and children. The children are treated with respect, disciplined gently and their feelings validated.
- The Center is aware of each child’s needs and interests. There is frequent communication with parents and opportunities for parent/ teacher conferences during the year.
- Nutritious snacks/meals are served and good health and safety practices are set by the administration.
What Is Accreditation?
Accreditation is a voluntary process that determines if an early childhood educational program goes beyond the basic licensing standards determined by the State of Illinois to become recognized as a high quality program for young children.
The program administrators, staff and parents join to undertake a self study that determines if the program meets nationally recognized criteria for high quality. Then a representatives of the National Academy of Early Childhood validates their work and determines if they meet the criteria.
A high quality early childhood program is one that is developmentally appropriate and meets the needs of and promotes the physical, social, emotional and cognitive development of the children and adults involved in the program.
As A Parent, What Is My Role In The Process?
As a parent, your input in the process is essential. Good, reliable, child care not only affects your child, but affects you as a working parent. When you know the care you have chosen is quality child care, you are able to focus on your job, secure in the knowledge that the program you have placed your child in is fostering your child’s growth and development. A program that makes a commitment to accreditation is telling parents that they are willing to exceed State standards and provide high quality child care.
As an early childhood education program goes through the Accreditation self study process, certain criteria of quality must be met. One aspect of that is to give parents the opportunity to evaluate the program their child attends and comment on how the program is meeting their needs and the needs of their child.
How Can The Coalition Help My Child’s Center With Accreditation?
The Child Care Coalition an organization of agencies and individuals working in partnership on behalf of young children and their families.
The Child Care Coalition, in it’s continuing efforts to improve the quality of child care, believes Accreditation to be the best marker of high quality care.
A center that undertakes the Accreditation process is proving their personal commitment to going above and beyond minimum licensing standards.
The Child Care Coalition will provide financial assistance as well as mentors to programs applying to NAEYC (National Association of Young Children) to begin the accreditation process.