Two kids going down a slide on a playground

Top 10 Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing an Early Care Learning Program

by Stacey French Lee, director of the College of Education and Human Development’s Child Development Center, and Ruth Saxton, coordinator of the college’s Birth Through Five program

Accreditation and licensing. Is the child care center accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and Quality Rated by the state of Georgia? Have you checked www.decal.ga.gov to see if the center is licensed?

Teacher qualifications. What training does the center require of its teachers?

Curriculum. Find out which curriculum the teachers use. Is it research based?

Meeting student needs. Does the program meet individual needs and provide for children who are shy or very active?

Classroom management and discipline. Parents should be familiar with each teacher’s specific classroom management style and guidelines for discipline.

Assessment. How do teachers assess and track the progress of their students?

Meal times. What kinds of meals and snacks are provided, and when are they served? What provisions are made for children with food allergies and sensitivities?

Active play. Do children have time to be physically active?

Child-to-teacher ratios. How many students are assigned to each teacher? How does each child’s individual time compare to the amount of group instruction?

Visiting. Take a tour of the early learning center to get a feel for one of your child’s first formal education experiences. Do you feel comfortable? Would you enjoy spending time here?

This story was originally published in the Fall/Winter 2015-16 issue of IN the College of Education & Human Development, the college’s alumni magazine.