Below is a press release from the National Association for the Education of Young Children:
NAEYC offers new website, tips for parents
searching for quality child care
Newly redesigned RightChoiceforKids.org gives parents a one-stop shop for information about high-quality early childhood education
(Washington, D.C.) – The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is very excited to announce the launch of a newly redesigned website specifically made for parents and families. The new rightchoiceforkids.org should be every parent’s first stop when beginning their search for quality child care for their young child from birth through 5 years old. The new rightchoiceforkids.org offers families tips on finding quality child care, allows for easy search for NAEYC-Accredited programs in your area, provides parent-focused articles and videos, and other great resources!
Rightchoiceforkids.org first launched in 2006 as a
way to help parents look for NAEYC-Accredited programs – the mark of quality in
early childhood education. But looking for a high-quality program can be
challenging with all the choices available to parents. Rightchoiceforkids.org
helps communicate that the best way to guarantee a program’s quality is by
looking for the NAEYC
Torch – a symbol of NAEYC Accreditation. NAEYC-Accredited programs are
required to meet 10 early childhood program standards and demonstrate compliance
with more than 400 specific criteria, which were created using the latest
research and developmentally appropriate practices in the field.
“High-quality early childhood education is a critical component to a child’s success in school and life,” said Mark R. Ginsberg, executive director of NAEYC. “For years parents have asked us what early childhood program would be best for their child and rightchoiceforkids.org helps answer that question."
In addition to looking for NAEYC-Accredited programs, parents can also use the following checklist of tips when visiting programs for the first time:
- A good program will always provide parents an opportunity to visit, stay awhile, and get a good sense of the environment.
- Parents should ask about and observe group sizes and the number of teaching staff in each classroom. NAEYC recommends no more than 8 babies or 12 toddlers with at least 2 teaching staff. For preschoolers, group size should not exceed 20 children with at least 2 teaching staff always present.
- Play, including dramatic play and blocks and active play outdoors, should be integrated into classroom topics of study. Play not only supports children’s intellectual development; it is also very important for the physical development of children.
- Programs should promote the health and nutrition of children.
- Children in the program should be engaged with one another and their teachers. Listen and watch for a happy buzz of activity—neither too quiet nor too loud.
- Teachers should use positive speech and be loving and responsive to a child.
- A good program should be able to adapt to the needs of each individual child without ignoring the whole group.
- Teaching staff should be qualified academically.
- Parents should ask about teacher turnover. A high-quality program will have well-compensated and well-trained staff to ensure retention.
- Programs should have a strong connection with the families of each child and the community, as well.
Parents should also think about what they
see based on what they know about their child. Are the teachers treating
children in ways that will be comfortable to their child? Are the materials and
activities likely to be of interest and to be challenging but achievable to
their child? Is the program interested in what is important to the parent and
willing to work with the family to give a child the high-quality experiences he
or she deserves?
Overall parents should feel comfortable in an early education setting. Chances are if a parent does not feel comfortable, neither will the child. It is also important for parents to understand that NAEYC-Accredited programs will not only meet a child where he or she is, but will also present challenges to improve that child’s cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development.
For more information about how parents can find the best child care or preschool program, visit www.rightchoiceforkids.org or call NAEYC toll-free at 800-424-2460.