This folder includes some strategies for parents to know what to look for when selecting a child care center and church nursery. In addition, I have added pages on different activity areas that I refer to as “the block center or the art center.” It is important for the parent to understand the importance of each of these areas. With over 25 years experiences working in the early childhood field, I have seen first-hand how learning takes place. Children learn from hands-on experiences. Their play is their work! Also, it is important to recognize a quality environment even in a church nursery. What are some things to look for before you leave your child?
Since I live and work in North Carolina, I can attest to the improvements in child care centers since our state began more regulations, lowered the number of children per staff, and increased the required education of the preschool teachers.
According to the Division of Child Development, if you are caring for more than two children who aren’t related to you for more than four hours a day, you might need to be licensed. If you do not meet any of the exemption scenarios provided below, then you need to apply for a license.
There are some exceptions. These include:
- Recreational programs that operate a few months within the year
- Activities like dance, music lessons, clubs, etc.
- Public Schools
- Vacation Bible Schools
Smart Start was created in 1993 as an innovative solution to a problem: Children were coming to school unprepared to learn. Policymakers recognized that progress would require tapping into the same innovative spirit that inspired private sector advances, and therefore, established Smart Start as a public/private partnership. I attended a meeting in Raleigh, NC when Governor Jim Hunt introduced Smart Start. Some years ago, I served on the Board. I am proud of the results that Smart Start has achieved. It has won national notice and recognized our state on its innovative approach to improving the lives of children. Governor Hunt said, “I read a story to my grandchild and suddenly became aware of the opportunities that my grandchild compared to other young children across the state.” This began the discussion about a program that could support children. Here are some of the improvements:
- More children attending high quality care — from 33% to 64% since 2001, when Smart Start began tracking this data.
- More children receiving Developmental screenings – 98% of children received recommended screenings after Smart Start launched the Assuring Better Child Health and Development (ABCD) program (compared to 81% before ABCD) in participating counties.
- More children succeeding in school – third-graders have higher standardized reading and math scores and lower special education placement rates in those counties that had received relatively more funding for Smart Start when these children were younger. This is according to research released in March 2011 by Duke University, which found that investments in Smart Start generate broad education benefits.
For church nurseries, there may or may not be licensing requirements. But, it is imperative to know safety hazards, backgrounds of staff members, and procedures before leaving your child. Hopefully, the page included in this folder will be beneficial. I would appreciate any additional information that you can add.