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    Effective Childcare Programs

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    * Reflect on each age group as it pertains to effective child care programs(Infant/Toddler, Preschool, or School Age). Evaluate the options for child care for each group and the kinds of programs that would appeal to parents. List the important issues related to quality care for each group.
    * Conduct an internet search to learn about one of the important organizations (National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Association of Family Child Care, Center for the Child Care Work Force, Children's Defense Fund, National Association of Research and Referral Agency,) concerned with quality child care, Write a paragraph summarizing how the agency supports the needs of young children.
    * How could you relay this perspective to parents?

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    Effective Childcare Programs
    * Reflect on each age group as it pertains to effective child care programs (Infant/Toddler, Preschool, or School Age). Evaluate the options for child care for each group and the kinds of programs that would appeal to parents. List the important issues related to quality care for each group.
    Early Care and Education

    All babies and toddlers need positive early learning experiences to foster their intellectual, social and emotional development and lay the foundation for later school success. Babies and toddlers living in high-risk environments need additional supports to promote their healthy growth and development. All child-care arrangements, including family, friend, neighbor, and family- and center-based child care have the potential to provide high-quality, individualized, responsive and stimulating experiences that occur within the context of strong relationships and which are imbedded in everyday routines.
    Child Care

    More infants and toddlers than ever are spending some portion of their day with adults other than their parents - either a relative, neighbor, babysitter or child care professional. As parents welcome their baby home and plan to return to work, what are the qualities they should be looking for in a child care setting? What is considered a "high-quality" child care setting for infants and toddlers? How do you prepare your baby or toddler for the transition to child care?

    There are many questions involved with finding the right child care setting for your child. But there is no question about the bond between you and your baby. Using quality child care and "sharing the care" with others does not take away from the very important, unique, and nurturing bond you have established with your little one.

    Childcare as the school for beginner parents
    The daycare was just a few blocks from Jean's office, so she did most of the deliveries and pickups. I remember the first time I went to pick up Maddie. As I went through the gate, I was full of apprehension. I felt like I was invading a very gender-specific territory where a set of automatic assumptions would work against me. How was I going to prove I wasn't some wandering kidnapper/child-molester?
    Because it was almost closing time, the few remaining children were gathered in a single classroom with the two remaining teachers, one of whom greeted me with "Hi, Dad," and asked for some picture ID. As I did the wallet fumble, she assured me that, as far as she personally was concerned, Maddie's response to my entrance had already established my identity, but that they always asked for ID the first time a new parent made a pickup.
    The next time I came for Maddie, it was earlier, and she was still in the baby area, so busy interacting with teachers and other babies that she didn't notice my arrival. I'd never seen her in this kind of situation, so I retreated into the wallpaper and just watched for awhile.
    I've tried to make this a habit, because I learn something every time I hang out at daycare.
    Bananas: Maddie had been eating solid foods for several months. We meticulously cut up everything, including bananas, into tiny bite size pieces. Then Jean dropped by daycare one day at noon and found Maddie sitting at a table happily peeling and eating a whole banana. She'd been doing that all the while.
    Table clean-up: I wandered into the daycare just as a meal was ending, and was astonished to see one-year old Maddie and her cohorts clearing the table and carrying their debris to the trash. They had all been seated in little chairs around the table. At home, we had Maddie in a highchair, and she was tossing so much food overboard that we had a plastic tarp on the floor.
    Use your words: In the interests of efficiency, Jean and I got very good at reading the girls' body language; if we could anticipate their wants; we could all go to bed earlier. But at school, I saw the teachers resisting body language. "Use your words," was a constant refrain.

    Pre-field-trip drill: Jean arrived at the daycare as the teachers were preparing Maddie's class for a field trip by asking questions. "OK, kids, what's the name of our school? What are we going to do when we cross a street?" It wouldn't have occurred to me teach this, and it certainly wouldn't have occurred to me that asking questions would be a more powerful teaching method than giving answers.
    Putting things away: Every activity at daycare ends with the kids putting things back where they belong. I thought this was pretty astonishing, given our inability to get the girls to put anything away. I expressed my amazement to Kate, one of the three teachers for the four and five-year olds. She was a grade school teacher before teaching at Mother's Place. She's in her 30s and has a child of her own at the daycare. "We reward them with cookies," she said, "and we watch like hawks to spot the kids who are only pretending to pickup and the kids who disappear into the bathroom for the duration. No cookies for the pretenders and disappearers. That always comes as a big shock. 'Hey, how come I'm not getting a cookie?'"

    What is high quality childcare for infants and toddlers?
    Many babies and toddlers will require care while their parents work or go to school. Child care choices range from informal arrangements with relatives and friends to registered family child care homes and licensed child care centers. For more formal types of care, national experts have identified 10 research based components that are essential to high quality child care. Using these 10 components as a
    guide, The NYS Infant and Toddler Resource Network is helping child care programs improve the quality of care for our babies, toddlers and their families. Programs often start with tangible changes to the environment and the structure of the program and then advance towards changing practices that promote relationship-based care between children, caregivers and families.

    Child Care Programs Following Appropriate Health and Safety
    New York State ensures that basic health and safety requirements are met by licensing child care centers and registering family day care homes. With standards among the highest in the nation, New York's child care regulations address everything from hand washing procedures and sanitation practices for minimizing the spread of
    infection, to policies for administering medications and guidelines for safe sleeping. The full set of regulations can be found at
    Staff Well Trained in Early Childhood Development (0-3)
    According to research, staff education and training is one of the best ways to rate child care quality and predict long term success. The last
    decade's findings about early brain development tell us that baby and toddler caregivers need to study early care and education rather than preschool or elementary education. Early care and education focuses on the unique learning abilities of babies and toddlers and trains
    caregivers how to plan appropriate activities, how to use daily routines to bond with babies, and how to provide cognitive stimulation through conversation, interaction and responsive relationships. Caregivers trained in early care apply their knowledge of 0-3 development to support healthy emotional and social growth for babies and toddlers in home based and center based care.

    Age Appropriate Environments
    Children under 3 learn through continuously exploring and interacting with their environment, which includes the emotional climate of a child care setting as well as the physical space. Babies and toddlers need safe spaces for quiet and active play (both inside and outdoors), safe spaces for sleeping, and spaces to interact one-on one with individual caregivers. Within the environment they need toys and activities selected primarily for individual interests and abilities rather than one-size-fits-all group play.

    Small Groups with Optimal Ratios
    Group size and adult child ratios determine the amount of time and attention each caregiver can devote to each child. Infants need individualized care and one-on-one time for interactions and routines. As they grow, they can play more independently and can handle small group activities.

    New York State regulations require:
    ? 1 caregiver for every 4 infants (6 weeks to 18 months) - group size no larger than 8
    ? 1 caregiver for every 5 toddlers (18 months - 36 months) - group size no larger than 12
    ? A family child care provider may care for no more than 2 children under age two
    While these standards are among the best in the nation, the National Association for the Education of Young Children and Zero to Three
    recommend 1 adult to every 3 babies or 4 toddlers.
    Primary Caregivers and Continuity of Care
    Assigning each child a primary caregiver promotes the caring one-on-one relationships that help babies thrive. A baby develops trust as her primary caregiver learns to respond appropriately to her unique temperament, her needs and her interests by being the one who almost always diapers her, feeds her, puts her to sleep, and communicates with her between settings family. The child's security deepens as her primary caregiver develops a positive relationship with her family and comes to know their values and wishes for their child. This holistic relationship provides the security and trust that enables the child to explore and flourish in group care. Ideally, a child has the same primary caregiver until age three, which spares her the trauma of leaving someone to whom she is securely attached and having to adjust all over again to someone who does not know her. Stability is important for healthy emotional development, which provides the underpinnings for all other areas of development.

    Active and Responsive Caregiving to Support Children's
    The active and responsive caregiver takes cues from each child to know when to expand on the child's initiative, when to guide, when to teach and when to intervene. She recognizes signs of stress in the
    child and takes appropriate action to adapt to the child's needs. Responsive care giving requires careful observation, knowledge of child development and respect for each child's temperament, interests and capabilities. The primary care giving system encourages responsiveness.

    Emerging Language and Literacy
    The path to literacy begins with conversations between caregivers and young children. Research tells us that a caregiver is laying the foundation for language and reading when she says, "I'm changing your diaper now" to a baby, and continues to chat with him throughout the day, repeating back his babbling, asking him questions, reading him books, and singing him songs. A caregiver promotes language development when she uses simple words and keeps a balance between listening and talking with the child in an environment rich with age-appropriate books, interesting pictures and photos to talk about, labels, and other printed material.

    Curriculum, Observation and Individualized Programming
    The 0 - 3 curriculum is based upon a sound understanding of child development and appropriate practices while taking into account
    the individual needs and temperaments of each child in care. The curriculum includes:
    ? the goals for children's development,
    ? the experiences that will be provided,
    ? the role for caregivers and families,
    ? the materials used.

    Caregivers plan for each day, individualizing activities, materials and schedules according to the routines of each child and his or her developmental stage. Observation and discussion among caregivers and families provides deeper understanding of each child and a basis for documenting developmental progress towards stated goals.

    Family Involvement and Cultural Continuity
    New York's children come from a huge variety of ethnic, religious and linguistic backgrounds. High quality programs incorporate practices that reflect the values and beliefs of the families and the cultures of their communities. In their work with families, caregivers respect differences and strive to become more culturally competent. Caregivers welcome parents into their child's classroom, use the child's home language whenever possible, and organize special events that include the child's family members.

    Comprehensive Support Services
    In addition to providing a protective and enriching environment for children, high quality child care serves as a source of support for families. Child care can become a family's connection to essential community services including a medical home, mental health and social services, and therapeutic interventions. Open communication among child care and service providers creates a more holistic and accessible system for families.

    Adapted from: Florida State ...

    Solution Summary

    All babies and toddlers need positive early learning experiences to foster their intellectual, social and emotional development and lay the foundation for later school success. More infants and toddlers than ever are spending some portion of their day with adults other than their parents - either a relative, neighbor, babysitter or child care professional. There are many questions involved with finding the right child care setting for your child. What is high quality childcare for infants and toddlers?
    Child Care Programs Following Appropriate Health and Safety
    Practices, Age Appropriate Environments, Active and Responsive Caregiving to Support Children's
    Development, Administration Provides the Backbone of Quality