Day Care Centers: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly - What You Need To Know.

Day Care Centers: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly - What You Need To Know.

If there's one thing I've learned since having a child, it’s that all day care centers are not created equal. You definitely have the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes the very, very ugly. To be fair, we’ve also had the very, very good too and when it comes to our children, our most treasured possessions, they absolutely deserve nothing but the best. 

 

We just moved Chickie to a new day care center in early June and in doing so, have experienced some growing pains. This center is considered to be a lab setting and it is also a teaching facility. Students from the University fulfill requirements with their education majors through rotations at the center. It has been a rough transition for us at times because a lab/teaching setting is so different from a traditional child care routine. The theory behind a lab day care is for the children to pretty much dictate the schedule and for them to explore and do what they want to do. 

 

Chickie’s classroom is set up with stations: Sand/water table, arts and crafts, painting/easel station, computer station, dress up/role play station, reading corner, etc. Aside from group reading time, group lunch, outside play, nap time, and a the occasional group art project, the kids are pretty much left to their own devises to learn how to play together and keep themselves occupied with the teachers only stepping in every so often to engage. I’m not saying that this is necessarily a bad setting {after much research, it actually has a lot of positives} but it’s different for us and Chickie. She has always been in a very structured, routine-based environment in traditional child care so this has been a huge adjustment for everyone.

 

On top of adjusting to a new way of looking at child care, we’ve also had to deal with some not so hot circumstances such as excessive accidents with Chickie, staffing issues, and safety concerns. One of the benefits of this new center being located on campus is that Michael and I can go into the center anytime we want and go into a private observation booth to watch Chickie in her class without her, or the teachers, ever knowing we are there.

 

Sounds great, right?

 

Wrong.

 

It’s amazing the things you will see going on in a day care classroom at any given point during the day. Teachers, in the hustle and bustle craziness of keeping up with children, have a way of forgetting that they have the potential of being watched at any given point during the day. You guys see what I’m getting at here, right? Over the course of a month, we’ve witnessed teachers playing and talking on their phones instead of watching the kids {to which Michael and I talked with the director about this and in turn, a no cell phone policy for staff was created}. We’ve seen our child be denied more milk at lunch time when she was thirsty and wanted more. We’ve seen our child be reprimanded over and beyond what was necessary or even called for. 

 

It has been a lot to deal with but as one of my friends on Facebook likes to say, “Bitches get shit done.” And get shit done, we have. Over the past month, I’ve become insanely passionate about bringing these things to light and feel that I need to share what I’ve learned with you guys, my fellow moms. If you currently have a child in day care or are thinking of placing your child in a center, please consider the following advice.

 

{ONE} Accreditation 
You do your research and find the perfect center for your child and to boot, they have X, Y, and Z accreditation. Superb, you think! Not so fast, momma. Let’s peel back this layer to see what you really have…

 

“Accreditation” is just a really fancy way of saying “We were handed a checklist of things we had to do in order to reserve the right to say accreditation. We also pay a renewal fee every year to keep our accreditation.” So what does accreditation really mean?

 

Absolutely nothing.

 

I understand that when a mother sees that a center is “Nationally Accredited” she automatically feels an extra sense of security. I know this because I did too but the reality is that a center is only as good as the product they are providing on the day to day. Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because a center is accredited that they don’t have issues. Some of the very best centers Chickie has been in have had ZERO accreditation of any kind. As I said above, peel back the gobbly gook, feel good language to see what you are really dealing with. Just because a center is “accredited” it doesn’t mean they are providing good child care, period. 

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