Every person, whether a parent, soon-to-be parent, family dreaming of becoming pregnant, foster parent, step-parent, grandparent or care giver, will have to face the thought of whom will care for their child.
Will they work and have to seek childcare? Will they choose to stay home and provide care for their loved little one. Whatever choice is made, one overarching theme is Quality. But Quality child care to one person, may be 100 percent different than what the next person envisions.
Quality to one may be that my childcare remains open year-round, and that a family doesn’t need to have a backup plan in place. Quality to another may be a structured academic-based learning model. Yet to another, quality may mean their child feels safe. Or maybe, quality comes down to the fact that any care is better than no care.
As a former early childhood educator in Cohasset, I chose to leave working outside the home when our first was born and opened an in-home family childcare. Simply for the fact that I wanted to be the one to raise our kids, especially during their youngest years, and be able to have control over the environment they would flourish and learn in.
I wanted to make sure, I was in complete control, of providing Quality care to our children, and to those that entered in our home.
Quality, when it comes to child care, means so many things, and differs from person to person.
To me it means for little ones to have that feeling this place is their home away from home. Quality is that smile and hug I could give a child, and how openly they accepted it. Quality meant that I had an environment where kids could learn best through play. Quality meant I intentionally sought out and planned age-appropriate activities that kept building on their social and emotional skills, language and literacy, cognitive development, fine and gross motor skills and creativity and the arts.
Quality was about making sure kids had the chance to explore the outdoors, with unstructured adventurism.
Yet, offer structure and routine too.
Quality was bringing in resources to help support myself on professional development and resources to help support the children. Quality was deciding to become Parent Aware rated, and work with a Quality Coach and Professional Development Advisor, to ensure I had every practice in place to prepare children for Kindergarten.
Quality was being able to offer child care assistance or scholarships to families that needed it.
Quality was about giving experiences, such as bringing in a weekly local yoga instructor to lead a 30-minute class or having small zoo animals come right into my home.
Quality was being able to network with other providers and feel connected to others that were in the same profession.
Quality was making sure the kids felt safe.
But I will say one thing. When you find the right child care, quality will only feel right to YOU! And it’s also important to always remember, quality, can’t be determined by one person. And has a different meaning for everyone. You also can’t group early child care educators and consider one type of program, center, preschool, head start or family child care, any more qualified than another.
Quality to one family may be finding a family, friend or neighbor to watch their child. Quality to another may be to be a stay-at-home mom. Quality could be a center-based program or an in-home family childcare. Quality could be Grandma. Quality could be working from home, but having the flexibility to part-time have your child around.
And in my whole-hearted opinion, quality comes down to what you value, and what is a good fit for your child and family.