Research continually shows that the brain forms critical connections during the early years of life that impact the individual’s skills, potential and personality. High-quality child care centers ensure the proper social, physical, emotional and intellectual development of children.
Most states require daycare centers to maintain licensing with the state’s office of child care agency. Licensed child care centers will receive annual health and safety checks from government officials. In order to meet the state’s minimum health and safety standards, licensed child care centers must follow many rules. They must ensure that employees receive specific training, such as CPR, first aid and child development classes. Child care providers are usually subject to criminal background checks. There are rules about sanitation, proper food preparation and handling and storage of harmful materials, such as medication and cleaning supplies. There are also defined child to staff ratios and rules about indoor and outdoor play areas and equipment.
One of the best benefits of a dedicate child care center is socialization. This is because children at child care centers are taught how to share, communicate, solve problems and be team players. This is especially true when child care centers are run by teachers with strong education backgrounds. When children attend a child care center, they have opportunities to interact with children of different backgrounds and dissimilar age groups. While interacting with these peers and under the watchful eye of a teacher, these children will learn socially appropriate manners, vocabulary and ways to resolve conflicts. Children who stay at home with only a parent or adult babysitter will miss out on these experiences.
Children need the routines and schedules that child care centers provide. Structured play, meal and learning environments help children learn discipline and stay active. This is especially true once children get into the routine of things and start participating group activities. At home, parents can easily set up similar routines and schedules that will help them manage their children’s behaviors. Thus, child care centers help condition children to be responsible at home and at school. This itself is extremely beneficial to parents and future teachers. Child care centers also offer structure for working parents with busy, inflexible schedules.
Child care centers also offer attending parents socialization opportunities. Day care center parents will meet others who are experiencing similar difficulties and situations. They will be able to provide helpful advice and support each other during tough times. These parents often become interdependent on each other as they seek help from experienced parents. This is particularly true for stay-at-home mothers who are trying to work part-time while still maintaining a social life. It is also most beneficial for single or new parents who lack strong social networks and child raising experience.
As a final note, high quality child care centers will have small group sizes, low child to teacher ratios and highly trained staff. The best directors tend to have hands-on education experience and seek additional accreditation higher than the state’s minimum licensing standards.