How to Find the Best Daycare in Chicago for Your Child

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Finding a daycare in Chicago is easy. There are numerous day care centers in the city and you will have plenty to choose from.  However, extra care must be given when choosing the first school of your child. Here are five tips that will help you find the best daycare center for your son or daughter.

1. Daycare Center in Your Neighborhood.
It will be ideal to enroll your child in a school near your home. This will make it convenient for you to take him or her to school and pick him or her up after class. Usually, the people who run the center come from your own community. You have met them and know what kind of people they are. If they are good people, you can entrust to them your child.

2. Research
If you do not know the people who run the center, conduct your own research about the daycare center program.  Take note of the reputation of the center. Ask around whether parents, nannies and teachers have had any conflict with the school before. Try to meet the teachers and staff. Knowing that your son or daughter is left on the hands of people with integrity and ability to care of them will give you peace of mind.

If you are new to the place, look for reliable sources of information with regards to the best daycare center. Chicago daycare centers are many. It will be wise to ask those who have reliable knowledge of these schools.  The best sources for this kind of information are the mothers who had have their children enrolled in the center. Since their experiences are firsthand, then, you can rely on their words with regards to the background of the center and the personnel.

3. Check if the Daycare Center is Parent-Friendly.
This means that it welcomes parents to visit or drop in to check on their children anytime. It must also have a clear policy when it comes to fetching children from school. It must emphasize the prohibition of releasing the child to any persons except to the parent, guardian or nanny who is recognized by the school personnel. The center should have strict instructions that your child cannot be given to any other person except to those authorized by you.

4. Visit the Daycare
Take a look around the school. Is the environment safe and child-friendly?  Is there a spacious ground where your child can play? Are the facilities in the playground in good condition? Is the surroundings always kept neat and clean? Is there no stagnant water that could become breeding places for mosquitoes? How about the classroom? Is it always clean? Is it well-ventilated and comfortable? Your child will be staying in this facility the whole day, so, it must be safe at all times.

As a parent, choosing the best daycare center for your child is a great responsibility. His or her experiences a daycare center will determine how he or she would fare in higher-level schools later.

Licensing Standards for Chicago Daycare Centers

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Parents always choose the best daycare center for their children. Many of them will be willing to pay the fees, provided that they are assured of the well-being and safety of their children. But how can parents know that a certain daycare center is the best for their child?

For daycare centers to render high quality standards, the government in each state set licensing standards. Daycare facilities that cannot meet the requirements are suspended and banned to operate. The state of Illinois has set high standards for Chicago daycare centers. This means that daycare in Chicago is the best because of the standards that it has to meet before centers can do business.

Workers in Chicago daycare centers have to meet certain qualification standards as follows:

  • Must be 19 years old and above
  • Must be a high school graduate or a recipient of an equivalency diploma for high school
  • Must have credits of 60 hours in college or university and must have spent 6 hours studying a course directly related to child care or a course in child development or 1 year experience working in any child care institution or credential in Associate in child development

This qualification standards for workers in Chicago daycare centers will ensure parents that their children are being taken care of by professionals who are experts in their field and who have more than enough knowledge in providing the right guidance and care for their children. The state of Illinois regulates the ratio of students to teacher, based on the children’s ages. All children must receive high quality care and taking charge of too many can easily diminish the quality of service. Presently, Chicago daycare center has a maximum of four infants under the care of one care provider. For toddlers, only five can be placed under the charge of one worker. For two year olds, one child care provider can take charge of eight children; for preschool, 10 and for school age, 20. If the group is mixed, the ratio will be based on the youngest child.

Aside from regulatory standards to follow, a daycare center would aspire for accreditation to attract more clients and to enjoy some privileges. For instance, accredited daycare facilities can charge higher than those that do not have accreditation.  But to get accredited, they have to meet  more requirements.  Accredited institutions have to serve meals  based on the standards set by the accrediting body like the National Accreditation for the Education of  Young Children (NAEYC).  An administrator of a center can submit his or her facility for accreditation.  The accrediting body rates the institution in terms of quality assurance, environmental safety, qualification and performance of staff.

Environment is rated in terms of facilities and safety measures that are needed for the age group to whom the daycare center caters. If you accept infants, there must be facilities for infant care like cribs, diapers, swipes, and sterilizer for baby bottles. Learning materials must be enough for the kids and they must be of high quality as well.

Accredited Chicago Daycare Centers

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Finding the right daycare center for your child is not easy. You have a lot of things to consider because your child’s safety and well-being while you are at work is very important. If you live in the Chicago area, there are many Chicago daycare centers where you can send your child. However, you must choose the best if you want to assured of quality service. Enrolling your child to an accredited Chicago daycare center could be a little more expensive than sending him or her to an unaccredited one, but the service that you will get is excellent.

There are several advantages in enrolling your son or daughter to an accredited daycare center. First, accredited daycare centers hire highly qualified personnel. In order to be accredited, these day care centers must hire professionals or people that have earned units or degrees in childcare. People that are hired must be at least 19 years old, high school graduate with considerable experience in childcare or at least one-year study in any childcare related course.

The ratio between care provider and student is regulated. For infants, the ratio is 1:4 and the number of children assigned to one care provider increases with the children’s age. This means that a provider will have adequate time to care for her charges because of their limited number.

Accredited daycare centers must have adequate facilities for childcare. If they accept infants, there must be cribs and other furnishings that infants need. Since children are served meals, the accreditation body strictly monitors the kind of food that is served. The foods must be healthy and nutritious. In some centers, cookies are not allowed to be served for snacks. Meals also include lots of vegetables and fruits. The center has to prepare weekly menu and this is checked from time to time.

Another advantage of sending your child to an accredited daycare center is that the environment is always clean and well-maintained, as prescribed by the accrediting body. Playgrounds are checked for safety. The building must past fire inspection and it must keep the equipment needed in case of a fire. The ventilation must also be excellent and all appliances used must be in good condition.

Aside from environmental safety, the accreditors also consider the curriculum and the learning materials that are used. They must be suitable to the age and level of the child. Accredited schools are visited and monitored regularly. Those who could not meet the requirements lose their accreditation status.

Despite the many requirements for accreditation, Chicago daycare centers apply for it because if the school is accredited, it can attract lots of clients and collect higher fees. Knowing the high standards kept in these centers, parents still choose to enroll their kids in these centers. Paying high fee is never an issued for as long as the school can assure the parents that their children are always safe and sound and that are well-prepared for higher level of learning. Enrolling your child in an accredited daycare center gives you 100% peace of mind while you are away from your child.

Good Reasons to Enroll Your Child in Daycare Center

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Couples with small children who live in Chicago are lucky to be in a place where several daycare centers could take charge of their children while they are at work. There are top Chicago daycare centers which working parents could trust when it comes to taking good care of their small children.

There are several good reasons of enrolling your child in a daycare center. First, your child will be safe throughout the time that you cannot be with him or her. People who work in daycare centers are certified as qualified to take care of your child. Because daycare centers are institutions, they have to maintain a good name and this is one of the reasons that you can trust them to give your child the best care there is available.

Second, daycare centers will not only provide care or your child while you are working. They will take charge of your child’s first year of education as well. From the activities that they do, your child will develop his or her cognitive and psychomotor skills, which are all needed when he or she goes to higher level in school. He or she will learn the alphabet, numbers, drawing and later, writing, singing and dancing. Chicago daycare centers have become well-known for their excellent program when it comes to the learning of your child. Under the guidance of the centers’ teachers, expect your child to go out of his or her shell and to grow up physically, mentally, socially and emotionally. In short, daycare centers will help familiarize your child with how things are done when they are already in the grade school.

Third, children in a daycare center learn to adjust socially. You will be amazed at how your timid child could turn into a talkative and active one after a few days. He or she will also gain experiences which the home cannot provide like having to share with others, having friends, and adjusting with other small children. Children who do not have siblings will experience the pleasure of playing with another child and sharing with others his or her food and toys. He or she will also learn how to care for others. Being with his or her classmates will give him or her sense of belonging. This will help him grow into a caring and confident person.

Fourth, children in daycare centers are taught how to take care of themselves so that they can grow into independent individuals. While a nanny would do everything for the child under her care, teachers in daycare centers teach the child to do things on his or her own. Children are taught how to brush their teeth, bathe themselves, change their clothes, and eat and drink without spilling their food and drink. They also learn how to comb their hair and wash their hands.

Last, a daycare center is where your child is given opportunity to learn some household chores such as gathering their toys after playing with them and putting them back where they are supposed to be. Once this attitude is developed, you can now expect your child to make his or her bed and clean even just his or her own room. Enrolling you child in a daycare center will help him or her grow into a mature, responsible and caring person.

The Cost of Enrolling Your Child in a Daycare Center in Chicago

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As more and more parents in the city of Chicago feel the need to work to augment the family income, more Chicago daycare centers are being put up to answer the need for a safe and trustworthy place and people where working mothers can leave their small children. Parents can leave their infants, toddlers and preschoolers to these institutions for a fee. In return, the staff takes care of their babies and in the case of preschoolers, provides them with learning activities.

Sending your baby to a daycare center is also costly. You pay more when the baby is still very young and the fees are reduced for every year added to the age of the child. Other centers have age brackets, with corresponding amount for fees. Hiring a nanny could be cheaper than sending the baby to a day care center but where safety and child development are concerned; parents find daycare centers as the better choice. Chicago daycare centers are known to deliver excellent services and the fees vary, depending on what area of Chicagoland the family lives.  On the average, the fees for one week is $202.50 for under 2 years old;  $171 for 2 years old; and $142,50 for 3 years old and above. Prices on some neighborhoods are higher compared to other parts of the city. In Lakeview, for instance, the price is $245 for infants, with a drop of $25 to $30 for each year added t a child’s age.

The prices in Chicago daycare centers are high but parents do not mind it for as long as their babies are safe and sound. The assurance that their child is safe gives them peace of mind and allows them to concentrate on their work better.

The quality of a daycare center in Chicago is assured because of the presence of accreditation agencies that regulate the standards for daycare institutions. They have to meet the entire requirement; otherwise, they will cease to operate. The following standards must be met by each day care center:

  • Restricted teacher to student ratio
  • Must meet whole food requirement
  • Provide rest/nap times
  • Teacher/caregiver continuing education

An accredited daycare center in Chicago have lower teacher-student ratio. Normally, there are 30 children under the care of one teacher. They have to provide healthy meals, which include snacks as well. Accredited schools serve vegetables and fruit juices, baby rice and milk. Some give cookies for snacks while others do not.

Of course, babies need to have plenty of sleep to grow healthy. Chicago daycare centers have nap times, which most children happily and willingly take. Beddings are provided so that children can have a comfortable sleep. So, children develop the healthy habit of taking a rest and a nap in the afternoon. This also makes them feel at home in their school.

Accredited daycare centers in Chicago schools require the staff to have continuing education. They are required to attend seminars and conferences or take additional units or graduate courses in child care to ensure that they always render quality service to their clients.