In today’s society, when both parents often work outside the home, the need for quality child care continues to grow. Fathers and mothers want the best for their children, especially in regard to caring for their kids. The first five years of a child’s life are regarded as the formative years and knowing that, parents often feel the pressure to find the ideal environment and caregivers for their children.
There are a number of options for child care including home daycare environments and child care centers. And there is lots to consider when choosing child care for your children. Does your child flourish in a larger environment or thrive in a smaller group? Does your child enjoy playing and learning with a large group or in a small group of children? Do you want an environment where your child is nurtured by a trained teacher, who genuinely loves children and seeks to instill discipline, character, and values?
In reality, you can find quality home daycare as well as quality child care centers that meet all these requirements, but finding the ideal daycare often takes tenacity on the part of parents. Let’s explore the differences in home day care and child care centers so you can make the best choice for you and your family.
Quality varies widely in home daycare, though there are well-run home daycares available. Home daycares are typically smaller, run within the provider’s own home. They are often equipped with less toys and teaching materials, and may not have to meet state and local regulations as stringently as their child care center counterparts. Home daycares usually maintain shorter hours with less flexibility because they have a family of their own to attend to after their daycare day ends. The same provider you entrust your child to is there when you drop your child off and when you pick him or her up.
Home daycare is akin to the days of old when neighbors and family looked after one another’s children, but has evolved into entrepreneurs who genuinely love to work with children and choose to do so from their home. In most cases, these home daycares must meet basic licensing requirements and many work to deliver home daycare services with quality and continuity as well as safety and security.
Just like home daycare, some childcare centers are better than others. Child care centers are businesses, with directors and employees, and usually operate longer hours with multiple shifts so drop off and pick up may include a variety of caregivers. Usually child care centers are housed in commercial buildings with a wider variety of resources including toys, teaching materials, and playgrounds that meet state and local as well as company standards. Some child care centers have all-inclusive playgrounds and some offer specialty gardens – like butterfly gardens as well as vegetables, fruits, and herb gardens allowing children to learn about food and where it comes from.
Quality child care centers often provide higher levels of care than home daycares can. Child care centers typically have a larger number of children in their care, but small classroom environments.
Child care centers require their staff to maintain CPR and First Aid Certificates, something you may not find in home daycare providers. Also, child care center teachers are fully credentialed and often bi-lingual. Most child care center facilities feature full video surveillance, for added accountability as well as increased safety and security.
Child care centers are often home to classes to engage parents as well and some even offer resource centers, computer labs, and libraries for parents’ use. Other child care centers offer special events for families like sports, field trips, arts and crafts fairs, and storytelling.
Overall, while home daycare and child care centers can both offer quality care for children, it is often the child care centers which provide greater opportunities for children and their parents.