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The interview

Once you narrow your search to several providers it is essential to take the time to interview or visit each facility.  Make sure to visit at a time that is convenient for the caregiver. Take notes, whether written or mental, there are things to notice and compare.  

For kids to become engaged there is a bit of organized chaos. Children should be having fun and maybe even a bit noisy at times. The provider should be interacting with the children and allowing the children to do things for themselves. Projects may include prepared materials, but children should be encouraged to do for themselves, cutting with scissors is a skill that must be practised to develop the small motor skills required. The children should be encouraged to do projects, but be offered alternatives if they choose. Structured programs will have a theme for the day or week, and have a program that follows that theme. Colors, animals, and holidays are all appropriate themes that can involve everyone. Projects, stories, and games should support the theme. Repetitive activities can help children learn.

Look also at the facility. There should be plenty of games and puzzles for the children to use. These should be available on open shelving that allows children to help themselves. The provider should promote independance by allowing free play where the child makes the choice of an activity, and picks up afterward. Using pictures on shelves will show the child where items belong, and help them return an item. Labels should also include word so that children begin to associate written words with objects.

Ask questions of your prespective provider, how much outdoor time is available? Is there a schedule for circle time, projects, free play, nap time? Do the children help at snack and meal time? Is television a regular part of the program?

Childcare is more than convenience and lowest rate. in order for your child to develop and transition well into school, a structured program should provide essential skills, not just watch your child.

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