Wider Horizons

At first, finding good child care might seem more daunting than pregnancy and childbirth itselftobi – but it doesn’t have to be. Tobi Horon, manager of the Lethbridge College Daycare and grad of Early Childhood Education ‘99, says there are a few things you can do to make the task easier – and then rest easier knowing your little one is in good hands.

First, don’t wait until the week before you head back to work to make your plans. Start your search early and learn about your options. You can choose a daycare, home-based care (a dayhome), pre-school, or out-of school programs. Give yourself enough time to make a good decision.

Start your search by checking out facilities at child.alberta.ca/childcare. The providers listed here have been approved by the Alberta Childcare Accreditation Program and provide a level of excellence in childcare beyond the basic provincial regulatory requirements. You can also turn to family and friends for referrals – their real life experiences can point your search in a good direction.

Once you have your eye on a few facilities, go and visit them. Is there room both inside and out for children of different ages to play? Are there soft, cozy places to snuggle up with a book? Are there other spots where children can make a mess with water or paint? Are there a variety of activities for boys and girls to choose from? Make sure you spend some time observing the people caring for the children. Does the caregiver call children by name? What happens when a child asks the caregiver a question? Does the caregiver respond with interest and encourage problem-solving? What happens when children misbehave? Are responses consistent and appropriate?

Take a good look at the rhythms and routines of each day. Does the facility limit the use of television? Is there time each day devoted to quiet activities as well as noisy, active ones? Do the caregivers encourage children to take part in basic life skills such as washing hands, hanging up clothes and zipping up coats?

Once you make your decision, stay involved with the facility. Talk regularly with your child and the caregivers about their days and experiences. Let the facility know about any changes in your child’s life. And most of all, remember that while you are working in partnership with the childcare provider – you will always have the main responsibility for your child’s care.

Wider Horizons
Peter Scott
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