More About Child Care

Quality child care helps your child’s development, whether your child is an infant, a toddler or a preschooler.

Infant and toddler child care should be based on a close, caring relationship between one or two caregivers and your child. Studies show that infants and toddlers do best when they have the same caregivers over time. Close relationships help them feel secure.

Child care for preschoolers should not look or feel like school. There should be some group time, such as circle time, meals and outdoor play. There should also be plenty of free time for preschoolers to explore interesting materials and activities on their own.

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Checklist for Infant and Toddler Child Care

Checklist for Infant and Toddler Child Care

  • Does the provider hold and cuddle the children?
  • Does the provider always put babies to sleep on their backs?
  • Does she respond to the needs and interests of the children, rather than making them fit into a schedule?
  • Is the setting uncluttered and free from chaos and loud noise?
  • Is the setting for infants calm and soothing, without glaring lights that can hurt an infant’s eyes?
  • Is the center divided into small, intimate spaces?
  • Are toddlers allowed to make choices? For example, can they choose when to nap or what toys to play with?
  • Is the provider trained in infant and toddler care?

Caregivers who care for infants and toddlers should care for no more than 6 children, with no more than 3 infants. An infant or toddler child care group is like a family. The children should be in small groups, and each group should have its own caregiver and space. Call Child Care Connection.

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Checklist for Preschooler Child Care

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    • Do the providers respond to the children’s interests and needs?
    • Do they talk with the children and encourage language skills?
    • Do caregivers and children talk to each other with kind words and smiles?
    • Do the caregivers give kind, clear and consistent messages to the children about behavior?
    • Is there a large play space where children can build and move things, run and jump?
    • Is there sand, wood chips or rubber under the play equipment, not grass or cement?
    • Is there a place where children can do arts and crafts and play quiet games?
    • Is there a quiet place for resting and reading?
    • Are chairs, tables and equipment child-sized?
    • Are there many kinds of toys, playthings and art supplies? Do they fit the ages of the children?

    Caregivers for preschoolers ages 3 to 5 should care for only 6 to 12 children, depending on the type of license. A preschool center should offer small and large group activities, as well as free time for children to explore on their own. To find a preschool, call Child Care Connection.