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Child care decision an investment in future of young

Dear Editor,

June 1 is Stand For Children Day. Stand For Children Day is a day that is set aside nationally to celebrate and recognize early childhood programs and staff members. These programs often provide a safe and nurturing environment while promoting the physical, social, emotional and intellectual development of young children. Childhood is unique and wonderful stage of life, a time when children are growing, developing and learning. They are building the foundations for their futures.

Today, more than ever, children spend a large amount of their time with caregivers other than their parents. Making child care arrangements is time-consuming. The decision parents make regarding child care is an investment in the child’s future. Parents should feel confident about how their children are being cared for.

Parents choose child care arrangements for various reasons. One of the most important considerations is to select an early childhood program with a license. The state of Colorado has established regulations to protect the health and safety of children in those programs. A licensed early childhood program has met specific requirements including training, CPR and first aid, up-to-date medical records and safety standards.

The basic mission of most early childhood programs is to help children grow and learn, making sure they are safe and well, and supporting their development. Choosing quality child care begins by screening providers and visiting facilities. Call ahead and make appointments to meet with the providers or the center directors to tour the facilities. Plan on visiting several programs before making a decision.

In scheduling a visit, the morning time is usually the most active and you will get an idea of the interaction between the staff and children. Plan to stay for an hour or two as observation is the best guide to choosing good child care.

All licensed child care programs must make information readily available such as their current license, the last inspection showing date and findings, the maximum number of children assigned to each room, the adult/child ratio for each room and fire and health department reports. Good programs take many precautions to keep children healthy and safe.

Have a list of questions ready to ask when you visit. As parents, it is within your right to know such things as: Is the provider and program licensed, is the provider accredited, what is the ratio of children to adults, are the caregivers qualified to care for young children, what is the training and experience of the caregiver, are all the caregivers trained in CPR and first aid, have any complaints been filed against the provider or program, are parents encouraged to drop in, how does the caregiver deal with behavior problems, and what are the health and safety procedures.

Parents want their child to be safe and happy. They want their children to experience loving, responsive and consistent care by caregivers. Being able to give children a great start by finding an arrangement that fits families’ needs gives parents a peace of mind.

If you are a parent who has a loving, responsive and consistent caregiver for your child, please take the time this week to let them know you appreciate them. There are a number of ways to let your provider know they are appreciated. Buy a book for the classroom, make sure you are caught up on your bill and give them a little bonus, help your provider attend a class or a workshop of interest to them, ask if the provider could use some volunteer time to make improvements to their childcare environment, etc.

For more information on obtaining quality child care contact Garfield and Eagle Counties Childcare Resource and Referral at 1-877-963-6779.

Sincerely,

Karla Stukey

Childcare Resource

and Referral

Glenda Wentworth

CSU Cooperative Extension


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