Observing the Program
After you have made a few calls and you have found one or more centres that sound like they may meet your needs, it is time to make a visit. If you want someone to be available to talk to you, it is best to set up an appointment where you can observe the program and talk about you and your child.
There are three things in the setting you will want to observe. They are the physical environment, the people who work there, and the activities offered.
Make sure you get a chance to see all parts of the facility that will be used by the children. This includes kitchen and eating areas, washrooms, sleep areas, indoor and outdoor play areas.
- First aid kits
- Fire extinguishers
- Gated stairways
- Covered electrical outlets
- Cleaning agents locked up
- Sharp tools out of reach
- Fenced yard
Warm & Inviting:
- Well lit
- Comfortable temperature
- Clean (but still looks like children play there)
- Good supply of toys
- Age or developmentally appropriate equipment
- Equipment is in good repair
- Equipment can be easily accessed by children
- Has an area for children to be alone
- Safe, accessible outdoor area
- Areas for both quiet and active play
- Has children’s art work on display
The relationship between children and their caregiver is the most important factor in child care. Early relationships can affect the way a child’s brain works and grows.
Does the adult...
- Listen to the children
- Respond to the children
- Initiate conversation with children other than instructions, announcements and commands
- Respond positively to a child who may be fearful, shy, upset, hurt or angry
- Display a sense of humour
- Encourage co-operation
- Promote problem solving skills and independence
- Set limits
- Provide choices
- Take time to be alone with individual children
These activities should promote your child’s healthy development and school readiness.
The setting should:
- Offer a balance between free choice and organized activites
- Have a consistent but flexible schedule that follows routines for rest, toileting and meals
- Provide for individual and group activites
- Allow children to explore their environment in different ways; through music, movement, pretend play, construction toys, games and outdoor activities
- Be respectful and reflective of multicultural society and of children of varying abilities