When parents select a day care center to watch their child, they seek a nurturing, educational and fun environment, where the child will be safe and well cared for. They hope to find a facility that employs best practices to ensure consistently high standards of service provision and child care. Best practices are methodologies and techniques, that through research and experience, have been proven to be successful and yield good results.
It is important for the day care center to employ well-qualified staff who are enthusiastic specialists in child development. Staff turnover should be kept to a minimum, and the same staff should routinely work with the same children. This allows the children to develop trust and security, which, in turn, will allow them to increase their self-confidence and express themselves freely.
The day care program should treat children equally, while taking into account the needs, abilities and interests of the individual children within the center. Leaders must determine the personal style of each child and customize activities to accommodate each of the four typical personal styles, introverted, outgoing, controlling and rational, which determine the child's natural predisposition in dealing with people, time, tasks and stress.
Children respond positively to structure and routine, and a strong, rich and varied program of physical and psychologically stimulating activities should be offered within a structured curriculum. The curriculum must represent a strong statement of the day center's mission and philosophy. Parents should be given a weekly program schedule, which details what activities will take place and, specifically, when. This will help parents to continue the learning experience outside of the day care center, complementing and enhancing the activities of any given day.
Staff and parents must communicate effectively to ensure consistent and regular exchange of information about the child and the center. Parents should be encouraged to participate in activities at the center and to take a vested interest in its ongoing operation and development. There should be an in-depth orientation program for new children and their parents, which they should be mandated to participate in.
Each child should be evaluated at the start of their participation and regularly monitored to assess progress and development and to identify any areas of concern that need to be addressed. Assessments should analyze language and literacy and problem solving and mathematical abilities, as well as a child's social skills, communications, choices in play, preferences, dislikes and enjoyment of and participation in specific activities. Parents should be regularly appraised of evaluation findings.