Research has shown a child’s brain develops most dramatically during the first five years of life. High quality early childhood experiences, inside and outside the home, can support future academic success. In fact, quality learning experiences are linked to higher vocabulary scores, cognitive achievement, and math and language abilities.
Watch a video about how the first five years of a child’s life can impact their future. Change the First Five Years and You Change Everything
Selecting a child care program is one of the most important decisions you will make as a parent. Centers will vary considerably in terms of accreditation, licensure, and curriculum. In 2010, The National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies ranked South Carolina 38th in terms of quality of child care centers. When choosing a child care center in SC, parents should pay particular attention to: educational attainment of directors, annual training requirements for teachers, and appropriate staff to child ratios. The below questions are meant to help parents better judge quality when considering which child care program is right for your child. Parents should always visit programs under consideration and utilize the below checklist to help evaluate quality.
Will my child be supervised?
- Are children watched at all times, including when they are sleeping?
- Do adults avoid yelling, spanking and other negative consequences?
Is this a safe and healthy place for my child?
- Are all children immunized?
- Have adults had criminal background checks?
- Staff to child ratio?
Is the program working to achieve the highest level of quality in the state?
- Is the staff evaluated annually?
- Are parents asked to evaluate the program?
Does the program work well with parents?
- Am I welcome at any time my child is in care?
- Does the program have regular parent meetings?
Will my child be able to grow and learn?
- Do teachers read to children at least twice a day?
- Are daily and weekly activity plans available?
Have adults been trained and educated on how to care for children?
- Does the director have a degree or experience in child care?
- Do the teachers have current CPR and first aid training?