on March 12, 2011
Here it is 2011 and so many parents have no idea what "quality child care" actually is. Busy, overwhelmed and stressed working mothers are still blindly believing the spiels that these savvy center directors are delivering. Sure, there are many, many child center directors out there who may visionary managers who strive to provide the best care possible for these precious children. On the other hand, there are plenty of center directors out there who don't seem to have the children's best interests at heart. These misguided directors are pushed by the owners to keep costs way down so that they can maximize their profits. Since the youngest children in their care don't have voices of their own, it is so easy to exploit their vulnerability. If you have a child in day care who is under the age of three, you must educate yourself about how to recognize poor to mediocre quality child care. Children over the age of three are more likely to tell you, or demonstrate to you via body language, that they're not happy with the care they're receiving at day care. The younger ones may not be able to express to you that they're not receiving the best possible. They may not be able to tell you that they're being mistreated or neglected. Lots of times, the problems with poor quality child care are not easy to detect. Even those of us who are very savvy consumers and smart business women may not be able to tell if a child care center is offering the best quality care for our precious children.
Here is a very, very important clue to look for in a quality child care center. It involves how parents can monitor their child's classroom without being detected by the day care teacher or her students:
1. Does your center have state-of-the-art intercoms in the classrooms? These are the intercoms where the director can listen in from her office while on mute. They're usually small white plastic wall-mounted devices with several capabilities for announcements and two-way conversation. These intercoms are used for monitoring teacher-child interactions without the classroom occupants knowing they're being monitored. If your center only has the old-fashioned big brown boxes mounted high on the wall where the principal can make crackly announcements, then you should be very wary. If your child's classroom does not have a way for you to monitor your child via audio without being detected by the day care teacher, then you should be worried. In this day and age of tiny video cameras, Video Barbies, Nanny Cams, and more; shouldn't your child care center be equipt with technology where you can listen-in on what your child's day care teacher is saying to her class? Wouldn't you want to know what your child's day care teacher is saying to him when they don't think you're listening in? What if your child's day care teacher is controlling him with threats? Wouldn't you want to know about it? What if she's saying, "If you don't sit down in your chair right now, I'm going to give you a spanking." What if the day care worker is "spanking hands" when the kids touch things in the room that she doesn't want them to touch? Children under the age of three may not report this to the parent. They may be too scared to say anything to you about it. They may not know that there is anything wrong with an adult saying this to them since they believe they're supposed to "listen to the teacher". My point is this: If there isn't an intercom in the room for undetectable remote audio monitoring from the director's office, then you should be asking some questions or you should wonder why they don't want you to hear what the day care teacher is saying to these children.
Here's another clue about the policy of cell phone use by staff members while on duty at child care centers:
2. Does your child's day care center allow the day care workers to keep their cell phones on their person? Have you noticed the day care workers texting or calling on their phones when they're supposed to be watching the kids? Day care workers should not be allowed to have their cell phones on their person at all. The phones are supposed to stay in the purses which should be kept in a locked closet or in their locker. Many top-of-the-line child care centers will issue a written warning to a staffer who is using her phone while she's supposed to be managing her students (seriously!!!). These day care teachers are pretty savvy. If a parent and the director are standing out in the hall listening-in to your class, then it's really easy to know they're out there. Usually another day care teacher will see them coming down the hall and the teacher will send a text message or will call the teacher next door. The next day care teacher will pass the message along down to the next day care teacher. Everyone knows if the director and a concerned parent are on the hall since they use their personal cell phones to pass along important news. If your day care center tells you that they have made arrangements for parents to be able to observe their child's classroom without the day care teacher knowing about it, then you need to ask some additional questions. If these observation opportunities involve you standing outside the classroom door in the shadows, then the center director is either lying to you or she's absolutely wrong. The day care workers spread the news to each other like wild fire by text message. Everyone knows you're out there observing and I promise that they'll put on a really good show for you.
I won't spill the beans about all the advice and tips that the author has included in her book. I just want to say that if you really care about quality child care, then you must read this book.