Finding appropriate and affordable child care is one of the most difficult tasks that parents have. Parents often don't know the right questions to ask and how to assess the various child care options available to them. The choice of child care arrangements can only be made by parents, who know their own situation and child best. There is no one kind of child care program that is best for all children. Some thrive in a center based program; others are happier with the smaller group size and homelike atmosphere of a family day care home; still others do best with a sitter in their own home.
Whatever the setting, the key factor in choosing child care is the quality of the care itself. Most authorities agree that a high quality child care program should offer knowledgeable, loving care givers who understand and care about children and who work with the family to provide the best possible care for each child.
The following is a list of things to look for and ask when looking into out-of-home child care. If you're exploring the option of day care centers/group care, plan to visit more than one program during hours of operation. Ask for a tour and spend some time in the classroom that your child might be in if s/he were to attend that program. Plan to bring your child for a visit prior to their first day. If you are looking into family day care, you should visit the home and may want to visit more than one. If possible, take your child with you on visits at a time when other children are in the home.
- Do the day care parents or staff appear warm and friendly; seem calm and gentle; accept and respect your personal and cultural values; read and talk with children; encourage children to express themselves; appreciate and praise each child's individual efforts; have previous experience working with children; have time to talk about your child with you; have training in child development or have previous experience working with children; involve parents in the ongoing activities?
- Are there opportunities for children to make friends with other children; receive individual attention; use books, games and toys; enjoy music, rhythm and dramatic play; visit places of interest like parks, library, museum or firehouse; have some free choice of activities for part of the day; play actively and quietly in-doors and out-doors; participate in meal or snack preparation and clean-up; learn problem solving skills?
- Does the day care center or day care home have space for all children; space and cot for each child to take a nap; a place for each child to store their personal possessions; a safe outdoor play area; sufficient adult care givers for the number of children; nutritious meals and snacks; adequate heat, ventilation, and bathroom facilities; clean and comfortable looking; procedures for staff and children in case of an emergency or fire; locked cabinets for storage of medicine, cleaners and any other dangerous materials; safety caps on electrical outlets; equipment and toys are in good working order; a health program; procedures for a sick child; proof that they meet all building, health, fire and licensing regulations; groupings of children consistent with age and development stages; precautions about who can come into and move about the center and remove a child?
- Be sure to discuss fees to be paid and when they're to be paid; addresses and telephone numbers where you can be reached at home and work; a list of who is authorized to pick up the child; a plan for emergency or a child's illness; what time your child will arrive and leave; any special arrangements for transportation; arrangements and schedules for holidays and vacations; views and methods on controlling a child's behavior; participating in conferences/ parent meetings and other center activities; any special characteristics of your child such as food preferences, habits, allergies and special medical needs; policy about unscheduled visits during the day to check on your child; policy on having lunch or snacks with your child; whether you can bring in food to share for your child's birthdays or special events?
If you are not happy with the child care program you have selected, talk with the child care provider about your concerns and questions. If you are still unhappy with your choice, keep looking around and explore other options.
Here is a list of child care providers and pre-school programs in Ontario County:
Bristol Mountain Child Care Center
Canandaigua Family YMCA Preschool/School Age Child Care
Clifton Springs Area YMCA
The YMCA provides a variety of activities for families and children, including summer programs. No youth membership is charged.
Clifton Springs YMCA School Age Child Care
Coordinated Child Development Program
The agency provides child care for ages 6 weeks to 5 years; before and after school care for those aged 5 to 12.
Finger Lakes Community College Child Care Center
Child care for children aged 18 months to 5 years.
Geneva Child Development Center
Geneva General Child Care Center
The agency provides education-based child care for children aged from six weeks to 5 years, and after-school care for children age 5 to 12.
Geneva Lakefront Childcare Center
Geneva YMCA Preschool and School Age Child Care
The YMCA offers after-school care, swim team fitness, gymnastics, summer camp, trainers, swim lessons, rock climbing wall, racquet ball and open gym/swim opportunities. The focus is on healthy lifestyles, exercise and character development.
Jack 'n' Jill Childcare Center
Our Children's Place
Child care for children aged six weeks to 12 years, Head Start and Universal Pre-K.
Rise Day Care Center
We primarily provide education, but give contact numbers and instructor email addresses to students in the class, and will handle 1:1 issues directly, or provide appropriate resources as needed.
Provides child care for children aged six weeks through school age.
Victor Childcare Center