Afternoon naps are part
of the curriculum in
preschools. Sarah Murray takes a nap in her Pre-K class at Appletree Academy I on The Pass in Evans.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Parents new to a community often rely on neighbors and co-workers to help direct them to good child care providers. And, according to industry experts, choosing the right provider for your child is easy if parents make an actual visit to several facilities before making a final decision.
"My suggestion always is to have parents go and spend part of the morning in a child care setting if they can," said Kathy Wilcox, acting director of Georgia's Child Care Licensing in the Office of Regulatory Services and Department of Human Services. "Many times, parents shop around from car dealership to car dealership looking for the right car, but they don't do that when finding a child care provider."
Help also is available for those parents, free of charge, from the Lutheran Services of Georgia Childcare Resource and Referral Agency, said Barbara Hutchins, the non-profit agency's program assistant in its Augusta office.
In addition to provided state-mandated training for child-care providers, the LSGA has educational materials available to parents and providers and can help parents locate proper care for their children.
The agency can be contacted at 736-2122.
Licensing provides reassurance when sorting out all those providers, Wilcox said. The state requires a license for any person who provides care for pay to more than two children. An initial inspection is done within six months of registration, and state officials also make periodic inspections.
Among the things Wilcox says parents should look for when choosing a child-care provider are:
* Is the care giver interested in listening to your child
* Does the child-are provider know your child's routine, likes and dislikes
* Does the care giver like her work
* Does the provider talk warmly to your child
* Do the children in her care seem to be happy
* Are you comfortable with the cleanliness and safety of the environment
* Are there learning supplies such as books, toys and art supplies around
Wilcox also suggests that parents inquire about discipline but says if children are happy at the facility, there should be little discipline.
It's imperative to inquire about the ages of children at the day-care facility, as well as the adult-to-child ratio. Some facilities offer care for children as young as 3 weeks, while others provide care for preschoolers only.
Online resources to help in the search for a child care provider:
Parents can find useful questions to ask caregivers on the Georgia Child Care Council's Web site at www.ganet.org/gccc.
To review any complaints for specific child care facilities, visit the state child care licensing office's Web site at www.dhr.state.ga.us.
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