Searching for Child Care
Choosing child care is one of the most important decisions families make. But, many must make this critical choice without enough information. The Massachusetts Child Care Resource & Referral Network is here to help you make the right choice for your children.
Using a computerized database of all legally operating childcare educators in the their CCR&Rs region, resource & referral counselors are able to search by geographical area, age of children, hours of operation, and other specialized needs. In addition, you can receive specialized materials with resources on parenting and choosing child care; financial assistance options, referrals to other agencies; and answers to specific questions about your child care needs.
Once you have a list of child care providers who might meet your needs, it is time to find the one who is right for you and your children. Start by visiting several child care homes or centers and following these simple steps.
- Look: Think about your first impressions, but also take the time to watch how the provider interacts with the children; look at the kinds of toys and learning materials which are available; and think about how safe the environment is for children. Once you have narrowed down your choices, return a second time and stay for as long as possible to get a true feel for the provider and the facility.
- Listen: Observe how the children play together and listen for sounds of laughter and involvement. Listen to how the teachers talk to the children. Places which are too quiet or too noisy should raise some concern.
- Count: Count the number of children compared to the number of teachers. Obviously, the fewer the number of children for each adult, the more attention your child will receive. Infants and toddlers particularly need an adult who is not trying to tend too many children.
- Ask: Ask about the education and background of teachers. Find out if the program is accredited and if teachers are involved in ongoing professional development. High quality settings will be happy to answer these questions.
- Be informed: Find out more about efforts in your community to improve the quality of child care. Is the caregiver involved in these efforts? How can you get involved? Call your local child care resource & referral program for information on what is going on in your area.
Searching for child care can take a lot of time, but be assured that all the effort will be worth it. Children and parents who are satisfied with their child care arrangements are less likely to feel stress in other parts of their lives. Children can build strong relationships with their caregivers, and develop and grow in a safe and loving environment with their peers. Parents can relax knowing their child is well cared for in a safe, nurturing, educational environment. The Massachusetts Child Care Resource & Referral Network is available to help you make this important decision in your life.
Your local CCR&R is able to assist you FREE of charge in locating a child care educator in YOUR community.
Please Click Here for the Department of Early Education & Care