Consistent with our mission, serving and assisting local families in their childcare search process creates a mutual potential for positive outcomes. Parenting at times can be quite daunting, and finding a childcare provider/preschool teacher ranks right up there! Let us help!
“Times have changed” and so has the early childhood profession. With ongoing widespread studies and brain research, it has been established that the first five years of a child’s life are crucial for their optimal learning, growth, and development. A high quality licensed home childcare environment meets over 900 licensing criteria regulations and much more. They strive to establish infant, toddler, preschool and school-age environments that align with the Colorado Early Learning and Development Guidelines. A multi-age home setting can reflect all the advantages of family life with an experienced, passionate early childhood professional at the helm, providing the care, teaching, optimal environments, and best practices…all working towards the success of each child.
Some Benefits of a High-Quality Home Care/Teaching Environment
- Low ratio of caregivers/teachers/children
- Warm home environment
- Blended preschool environment
- Fewer children. See current licensing ratios and stipulations posted in the home
- Mixed age groups of children that creates age diversity experiences
- Allows for sibling interaction and strong, positive multi-age friendships to develop
- A closer teacher to child bond since the caregiver often cares for the child the entire day and often loops through preschool and pre-kindergarten
- Fewer cases of illnesses since the child is exposed to fewer children
- Smaller instruction ratio with more personalized attention
- Low turnover
- A more flexible caregiver who is accommodating to your specific needs
- Competitive tuition rates
- A caregiver who often becomes part of the family
Child Care Search Recommendations
Parents, do your homework and start early if possible. Finding that optimal fit is a combination of your working knowledge/notes, networking and staying in touch with top choice home providers, doing the groundwork by interviewing provider’s and visiting homes. Then making that final decision with your “head” and your “heart”!
There are many childcare search resources to draw upon. In Douglas County, we recommend you start with our listed DCCCA referral volunteers and our electronic referral system. You may also search the Colorado Office of Early Childhood and Colorado Shines websites.
- Do your homework, take notes, keep files long term
- Call your DCCCA referral volunteers and access electronic system for provider details
- Call providers with openings to schedule an interview and tour. Be considerate with cancellations and provide notice either way of your final decision
- Become familiar with family resources and information at the following websites: Colorado Office of Early Childhood and Colorado Shines. Look into the provider’s current licensing status, history, rating etc.
- Be prepared for interviews and visits
Interviewing Child Care Providers
- Use prepared general questions and delve into areas such as health practices, supervision, nutrition, safety, indoor/outdoor environments, caregiver philosophies and experience, pets and schedule. Plan for approximately an hour visit.
- Tour all areas that may accommodate your child during their stay
- Observe caregiver/teacher/child interaction
- Seek details on preschool program and instruction
- Ask about parent/family partnership opportunities
- Preview childcare home written policies and procedures
- Ask to see current state and local licenses, along with the last inspection report
- Leave with several references both current and past. Ask each reference those detailed questions regarding overall care, day to day operations and family/caregiver communications.
- Don’t hesitate to call the provider back and follow up with other questions you may have.
- Access Colorado Shines childcare worksheet.
We understand, respect and appreciate the overall nature of your work given this lengthy process of finding the best fit for your child and family. As early childhood professionals, we ask for your equal consideration as well. Our partnership with you, matters!