In a society where the majority of mothers and fathers are working outside the home, the need for quality childcare is growing. All parents want only the best for their children, especially when it comes to child care. Since it is known that the first five years of a child's life are the most important of their formative years, parents of young children feel an urgency to find that right environment for their children. That being of a center based daycare or a home based one.
Each environment has its pros and cons. Some children do better in center based care while some children do better in a home daycare. Some children find the large number of playmates exciting, such as in a center, while others find that intimidating and prefer playing and learning alongside a smaller group of children, such as a home daycare.
However, no matter how much one loves children. No matter how much one was born to work with children. When there are 10 plus kids all bouncing around you, all screaming and yelling, all asking questions, all having sharing issues, all feverishly vying for your attention, x 10 hours a day x 300 days x 10+ years, it's not education that keeps one calm and collective, it's not the establishment that ensures ones smile, and it's not the paycheck at the end of the month that keeps one happy. It's a genuine love for children, patience, a higher moral value, and this is an important one, pride in ownership of one's business and a deep aspiration to uphold its good name that keeps one still positively molding young minds at that eleventh hour.
THIS is the single biggest detail that differentiates a well run Family Home Daycare from a Preschool Center. You can read time and time again that a big negative of center based childcare is high employee turnover. This is because working with many young children day in and day out is demanding. Not so much demanding in the physical or mental sense, but emotionally demanding. If anyone tells you different they are probably not being completely honest with themselves. Simply put, when an employee has no vested interest in the business and only sees it as a job to get from point A to point B it is only a matter of time until the proverbial hair is pulled out. Now of course, there are many exceptional child care providers working in many different environments. Yes, they are out there, AND your job, as a parent, is to locate those individuals. But all in all it boils down to this... it matters ZERO what the name on the outside wall says. What matters is the character of the person interacting daily with your child.
I stress "well run" Home Daycare because this quality, or lack of, varies widely in home based daycares. Here’s one for the Centers, common sense says that they have a more consistent level of quality in comparison. Childcare Centers are businesses. They have bosses (i.e. directors) and employees. They are usually run out of a large commercial building which is leased. Centers usually have more money and so, as a result, usually have nicer things and a larger environment, and more toys and materials at their disposal. Centers have more children attending which is good or bad depending on your perception. They have multiple employees which relieve each other after an 8 hour shift, so the pickup time teacher may not be the same one you left your child with, which can make for some communication holes.
Recently, I was reading some reviews from different preschool websites, here are some examples of typical attitudes parents can sometimes take from a Center based experience... "We had our son there for about 11 months, nice, clean facility, decently priced, but the staff changes all the time and management does not communicate with the parents why they are gone”. You will be referred to as Mom and Dad”, because nobody will bother to learn your name (my son attended a very well known Center here in Valley Stream and that was always a pet-peeve of mine). As opposed to Center based care, I will learn your names and I will genuinely care about the relationship and trust that develops between me and parents. I will constantly put myself in your shoes and therefore treat your child as if they were my own. Having one child of my own, I fully understand the trust that must be placed with me and I take this earned trust extremely seriously.
So... just what is a family home daycare? In short, it is childcare that is offered in the provider's own home. This has been around as long as parents have had neighbors and friends nearby to help care for their children. Today it's a way for many people who truly enjoy taking care of young children to do the work they love. Some assume that this is just babysitting, but actually, a quality Family Home Daycare is so much more than that. A quality home daycare strives to excel beyond basic licensing requirements (I know I did). Quality childcare providers, such as myself, are entrepreneurs who take pride in their small businesses and continually challenge themselves to remain at the leading edge of the childcare profession.
A built-in advantage that a home daycare can offer children and parents alike, is continuity and stability. No other childcare arrangement can match the consistency of care that a quality Family Home Daycare can provide. The same person cares for the children all day and can share complete information with the parent. The parent-provider relationship is often individualized and close. Children have a single, consistent caregiver (sometimes two, like in my situation), promoting a sense of safety and security; encouraging a close and trusting relationship between child and provider. Parents can rest assured that their child can go from infancy to kindergarten with the same childcare provider.
A Home Daycare often appeals to parents who want to keep their child in a warm and caring homelike environment. They prefer to communicate with a single caregiver and believe that children are healthier, happier, and more secure in a smaller group setting. A home atmosphere gives off an overall feeling of satisfaction, contentment, and security. A homelike environment is comforting and reassuring for children. Homes are comfy and cozy, never cafeteria-style or institutional-feeling. In a quality Home Daycare, children get nurtured the way they should be, and deserve.
One of the major benefits a Home Daycare can offer parents and their children are small groups, due to the low child to adult ratio that each Home Daycare MUST LEGALLY adhere to. A smaller group means your child is more likely to get the one-on-one interaction he or she needs and deserves. Small groups are less stressful to children. In them, children can foster closer social bonds and get closer attention. This kind of nurturing and individualized attention significantly supports a child's social and emotional growth.
Another advantage of a family Home Daycare is the mixed-age group of children that the provider cares for. Because of this, siblings can be cared for together, and children have the opportunity to interact and socialize with children in the same and other age groups. These mixed-age groups more closely mirror most families and other real life situations, and can help your child learn to feel more comfortable around older and younger age children.
Bottom line, a quality child care situation can be a wonderful asset for parents striving to raise healthy, happy, and self confident children. Both Childcare Centers and Family Home Daycares have many pros and cons. Each family's decision making process is different. It simply boils down to what child care arrangement works best for you, your family, and your child. I strongly encourage families to look around and visit as many child care facilities as their time allows. This will let you more accurately separate quality child care from just so-so.
Lastly, let me say that I don't envy you; I remember the days of looking for the very best care when I had to return to work. As with me, most parents take this decision very seriously and put a great deal of thought and time into it - as you should, trust me I did! Obviously I am a little biased, but I believe you, your child, and your family would be completely content and happy at Bright From The Start Childcare, a quality Home Daycare. Because I am fully committed to my chosen profession, I made a significant investment into my home, dedicating a large portion of my home strictly for daycare. This gives me the unique advantage of having the best of both worlds. I have a small group of children (comparatively), yet at the same time I offer a childcare center like environment; with lots of stimulating colors, no dangerous nick-knacks to avoid, and a large child friendly area for children to actively explore.
Good luck with your search and your final decision.
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Hi my name is Margo; I've lived in Valley Stream for over 15 years. I am the loving and very, very proud mother of one amazing 18 year old son, Isaiah. Thankfully, I am able to live my dream of caring for and nurturing young children.