Posts Tagged ‘family engagement’

a preschool child

Selecting the right childcare for your child has always been a big decision. Although the pandemic brings with it a new set of rules, many of the same questions still leave parents feeling stumped when choosing childcare. Here are some common considerations when selecting care for your child as well as information from Ohio’s two licensing entities, Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services (ODJFS).

Select the type of program that is right for your child.  Ohio has different types of programs such as child care centers, family child care, licensed early care and education programs, and child day camps. Each comes with specific licensing requirements.

Do your research. You can learn a lot about a program before ever stepping inside. Get references from friends and family. Search the program on social media to see if you are comfortable with their posting protocols. Do hours of operation meet your needs and are they flexible? Are tuition rates within your budget? What is their Step Up to Quality rating? What is their learning philosophy and curriculum? Review their current inspection reports to verify compliance with licensing rules. You can search your prospects at http://childcaresearch.ohio.gov/.  Once you have narrowed down your choices, schedule a visit. 

During your visit, ask questions and be observant. Are there enough materials for all children? Is the outdoor play area well-maintained and safe? How do the teachers interact with children and maintain ratios? Is family engagement a priority?  What is the pick up and drop off routine?  How are special occasions like birthdays or holidays recognized?  Although many questions should be addressed in the parent handbook, you should also take the opportunity to ask about staff turnover, security, and visitation policies.  If your child has any medical issues, ask how they are equipped to handle medical emergencies.  What are meal times like? What is their philosophy on discipline? Meet as many of the staff as possible, not just your child’s teacher. If you see children sitting in front of a television, keep looking. There isn’t anything a cartoon can teach your child that a good teacher can’t!

Go with your gut. If you get the feeling staff or children are not happy, the environment is not clean or safe, or there is no interaction between children and adults, leave. This is their first opportunity to impress you and if they don’t now, they never will.

Establishing a relationship with the right childcare for your family may take time, but the benefits of high-quality early experiences will last a lifetime! 

Additional Resources for families:





If you cannot afford childcare, you may qualify for assistance through publicly funded childcare. Learn more at https://jfs.ohio.gov/cdc/Page4.stm.

Written by Heather Reister, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Butler County

Reviewed by Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County

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