Your baby deserves the very best, and you look forward to watching your child make leaps in their development over the upcoming year. While you know that a quality infant program provides the ideal environment for young babies to learn, you may also be unsure of how to find one that fits your baby's needs. As you begin your search, use these tips to find a safe infant program that helps them grow.
Ask About Child-to-Staff Ratios
Quality early childhood-learning programs recognize the importance of maintaining low child-to-staff ratios. For children under one year of age, you should expect the learning program to have a ratio of no more than four infants to one teacher with a maximum of eight babies in a room.
Although this ratio will change as your baby matures into a toddler, a low ratio ensures that every infant's needs are met in a timely manner.
Inquire About Hiring and Training Practices
You should expect that anyone who is hired to work in your baby's infant program has successfully completed a criminal background check. While this helps to ensure your child's safety, you also want to know about the types of education and training that each person in your baby's classroom must have before they are approved to work with children.
In the state of Indiana, any caregiver that is included in the child-to-staff ratio must have a high school diploma.
However, lead teachers may also be required to have completed college coursework in child development, and early childhood teachers must complete 12 hours of continuing education training each year that may include topics such as child development along with the best practices for health and safety.
Assess the Facility for Safety
During your visit to an infant care program, find out about the current safety practices. For instance, you should hear that the center does regular fire drills and that each teacher maintains a list of emergency contacts for the children in their classroom.
Depending on your infant's needs, you may also inquire about their medication and vaccination policies. You should also hear that the childcare program notifies parents in the event of even a minor injury such as a scratch acquired while crawling so that you can make the best decisions for your baby's health.
Take a Tour of the Classroom
The infant classroom is where your child will spend the majority of their time. Ideally, infants should be divided into different classrooms based on their age and developmental level.
For instance, babies between six weeks to six months of age may not be crawling yet, so the teachers should keep them in a room that is separate from babies who are beginning to walk. This separation protects younger babies from an accidental injury.
You should also notice a safe sleeping environment is set up for each child. For example, every baby in the classroom should have their own crib that is clearly labeled with their name. You should also find that the center follows safe infant sleeping practices such as only allowing one fitted sheet in the crib, and the teachers should put the babies to sleep on their backs.
Observe the Activities
Although babies should always be allowed to follow their natural schedule, teachers understand the importance of planning activities that stimulate their development. Spend a few minutes observing the overall classroom activities to watch for signs that teachers are encouraging babies to develop new skills.
For example, you may see a teacher assist a child with holding a spoon as they eat. Alternatively, you might observe a teacher reading a tactile book with an infant as they encourage them to touch the pages.
At Riviera Daycare & Preschool, we love to show off all of the wonderful ways that we nurture children's development starting with our youngest babies. Contact us for your tour today.