Re: researching daycares
Are you looking for a day care in a private home or a large facility?
Some of the things you should ask are:
1. How many children per adult?
2. What are the ages of the other children? Are they separated into groups by age?
3. Are you licensed? What are the teachers' qualifications?
4. Do you take field-trips or outings? If so, how do you insure proper supervision? How do you insure no one gets left behind in the vehicles?
5. Do you have a pool on the grounds, and if so, how do you prevent children from gaining access?
6. What schedule do you have set up? When is lunch/ naptime/ storytime/etc.?
7. How do you handle children with disipline problems?
Use your intuition. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. If you enroll them in a facility daycare, when you arrive the first day, how are the children welcomed? Do they have things set up for them, or do the teachers act like they didn't know they were getting another child? Do the other kids look happy? Inspect the play areas. Do they look safe?
Finally, after they start, watch your children for changes in behavior. Are they starving when they come home? If so, maybe they aren't getting a chance to eat their lunch or snack. Do they start hitting, throwing tantrums, or worse, start inappropriate conduct? Do they become upset when you drop them off? Make sure you ask your 4-year-old lots of questions about what goes on with him and the younger child during the day and be prepared to talk with the provider about anything that makes you uncomfortable.
I'm not trying to scare you, but there are plenty of people running these places that shouldn't be.
My son was physically abused by the director of his preschool (she watched the kids while the teachers were at lunch). He had broken his collar bone a few weeks earlier (at home) and my MIL walked in to catch her grab his arm (the broken one) and jerk him down in an effort to make him sit. (He stood up because he saw his grandmother was there to pick him up.) We filed a complaint with the county, but since it was MIL's word against the director's, nothing came of it. It's been 6 years and she's still there working with kids. The worst part for me, is that I had a bad feeling about the place (which came highly recommended, by the way), but I ignored it, thinking I was being over-protective.
Just listen to your heart and your children and don't be afraid to move them if you feel the need.
Sorry to have written a book, but I don't want you to go through what we did.