What Is High-Quality Child Care? (page 4)

By — Cornell University, College of Human Ecology
Updated on Dec 16, 2008

Things to Look for Regardless of Your Child’s Age

Staff turnover and staff schedules are additional issues to investigate before making your final selection.

Staff Turnover

Staff turnover is a big problem in many child care centers. Children need to become attached to their caregivers and to feel secure that these special adults will be there for them when they are upset or in crisis. This is especially true for infants and toddlers but is a real concern for preschoolers as well.

If the staff turnover rate is high at the center you select, try to learn why. Perhaps you and the other parents can find ways to encourage caregivers to stay with the center. Unfortunately, the most common cause of turnover is low pay. Parents are often already too strapped financially to be able to pay the teachers enough to keep them in the child care profession. But sometimes the problem involves working conditions that can be changed, especially if you are willing to push a little. It is worth your while to find out why caregivers are leaving and think through possible ways to keep them involved with your child.

Staff Schedules

Staff schedules can also be a problem. Getting to know your child’s caregivers is very important, both to help you feel comfortable while away from your child and to ease the process of sharing information about the child. It is easier to build this cooperative relationship if the same person is waiting for you each morning when you drop off your child. Because caregivers typically don’t work more than an eight-hour day, usually someone else will be with the children when you arrive at the end of the day. The early and late caregivers need to take the time every day to talk with each other about your child so that the care they provide is consistent and so that the afternoon caregiver can pass along anything that the morning caregiver wants you to know about your child’s day. Ask the center director how the staff addresses the issues of consistency and continuity.

In 1997, Mon Cochran joined with Eva Cochran, Coordinator of the Early Childhood Education Degree Program at Tompkins Cortland Community College, to write a parent's guide entitled “Child Care that Works: A Parents' Guide to Finding Child Care,” published by Robins Lane Press. The aim is to provide parents with the information needed to understand quality in child care and find satisfactory child care arrangements.

Under the leadership of Nancy Torp, Senior Extension Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension, portions of the book have been adapted as fact sheets for Extension educators, parents, and child care providers across New York State.

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