WHAT DOES QUALITY CHILD CARE LOOK LIKE?
How do you know when you have found a quality early learning program? What should you look for? Here are some key characteristics of great care:
- Safe and Inviting: The classroom, facilities, and program practices should provide a safe and welcoming environment for your child to learn and grow. This may look like a clean, but engaging and comfortable classroom with toys, books, and other child-friendly materials that can spark your child’s curiosity and learning.
- Small Class Sizes: Class sizes should be small enough for teachers to give individual attention to your child’s learning, well-being, and growth. This may look like teachers regularly engaging in conversation, singing, or reading with all children, so they are aware of the unique strengths and needs of each child.
- Parents Welcome: The program should welcome parent participation and keep you informed about your child’s progress.
- Inclusive and Appropriate: The program should respect and accommodate your child’s cultural background and/or special needs, and provide age-appropriate activities that will give your child the skills needed to succeed in kindergarten.
- Teacher Excellence: Teachers should be trained, educated, and experienced in relevant knowledge areas and techniques to give your child the best quality care.
RESOURCES FOR FINDING QUALITY CARE
Here are some resources to help you find an excellent program for your child:
It is important to visit the program and schedule an interview with the program’s early childhood professionals before making your final decision as to which program will be the best fit for your family. It is also a good idea to ask the program for references and contact the references.
Before you visit a specific program, you should check the licensing history of the program through California Community Care Licensing https://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/community-care-licensing/facility-search-welcome.
As a parent, you have the right to get information about any substantiated or inconclusive complaints about a child care provider that you select for your child. That information is public, and you can get it by calling the local licensing office. The telephone number is (951) 782-4200, or the information can be accessed through the transparency website at: https://www.ccld.dss.ca.gov/carefacilitysearch/
HOW TO USE QUALITY START RATINGS
Quality Start participation and ratings are one thing to consider when looking for child care or preschool, in addition to visiting programs and asking questions to learn if the program is right for your family.
Programs that participate in Quality Start Riverside County can choose to be assessed and rating as part of their quality improvement efforts. These ratings can help parents find high quality early care and education programs for their children, by helping parents identify programs that are the best fit for their family. The ratings also help programs continue to raise the level of care they provide. Quality Start programs are committed to quality and go beyond the standard licensing requirements by participating in the rating and improvement system.
Programs that receive Quality Start ratings are evaluated in different areas that are known to make a difference in quality for children’s learning. Parents can search rated programs to find the best options to get their child off to a strong start.
To determine the level of quality of participating early learning programs, Quality Start Riverside County evaluates how each program:
- Supports children’s health and safety
- Ensures their teachers are well-trained and are effective
- Provides a supportive learning environment that teaches children new skills
- Helps parents become partners in their child’s learning
- Demonstrates strong leadership and business practices
Visit our Find Child Care page to learn more.