High Quality Child Care Centers and Providers
In a recent study, The National Institute of Health studied nearly 1000 children, who were followed from birth to age 15, to understand the long term impact of child care services. What they found:
Children who spend time in high-quality child care centers and with high quality child care providers
Scored higher on
than their peers
at age 15
What does this mean for parents?
Choosing the highest quality child care center, provider or preschool for your young child may help your them succeed in later years
You need to know how to make the most informed choice, one that will benefit both you and your child
High quality child care has been defined by a number of principles in multiple categories over the last ten years. Dr. Richard Fiene, of Pennsylavania State University, published a comprehensive research study in 2002 titled
"13 Indicators of Quality Child Care".
The 13 indicators are based on performance and liscensing standards developed by the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care. Fiene finds that a significant relationship exists between compliance with these indicators and positive outcomes for young children.
The 13 areas of review include, among other things:
staff to child ratios
child abuse prevention and detection
supervision and discipline policies
handwashing and diapering routines
emergency plans and medical policies
Part of your parenting responsibilities may include finding a child care center or provider to care for your children.
The indicators listed above are extremely important for you to be familiar with when choosing child care.
The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) has published a guide for all parents based on research like Dr. Fiene's.
"Is This the Right Place for My Child"
provides parents with a checklist to help them make the best desicion when faced with the difficult task of finding child care within a daycare center, preschool, or in home provider.
The basics of high quality child care
Children should be supervised for their own safety at all times, while performing "high" and "low" energy activities (i.e. engaged outdoor play and sleeping)
Adults working in child care centers or as child care teachers should all be trained professionally in CPR and First Aid
Children should feel comfortable engaging their peers and teachers in conversation and play; they should be welcomed warmly and teachers should establish a relationship with each individual child
Child care teachers should have advanced knowledge of Early Childhood Education and attend professional development courses throughout each year
Proper health precautions should be taken at a daycare center or in your home; i.e. frequent hand washing, sanitizing toys and vacuuming carpets daily
Adults should rely on a vast array of positive guidance techniques, like redirection and promote good social behaviors like conflict resolution between children
Age appropriate toys, books and learning materials (in good condition) should be organized and accessible to your child throughout the day
A child's cognitive, social and emotional needs should be met as an individual and as part of the whole group, promoting a sense of independence and community
Parenting decisions like choosing child care can be made easier using research based information like this. It is always important to recognize and track your child's happiness and progress within a particular child care center, daycare setting or home environment with a one on one caregiver. Once you make your choice, frequent conversations with your child's teachers will help you determine if the choice you made works for your child too.
National Association for Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA). (20101
"Is This the Right Place for My Child?". Retrieved March 2011, from
Fiene, Richard Ph.D.,
13 Indicators of Quality Child Care: Research Update
, Retreived March 2011, from