Improvements in North Carolina’s Child Care Center Quality
The summary of the growth in North Carolina’s Child Care Center quality combines the efforts of many individuals and agencies. It is important for parents and guardians to be familiar with their state or country’s regulations and to enroll their child in the highest program that they can identify.
Practical Learning Experiences
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.
Since I live and work in North Carolina, I can attest to the improvements in child care centers since our state began more rigorous regulations, lowered the number of children per staff, and increased the required education of the preschool teachers.
Know the Governing Agency
You should know the governing agency that regulates licensed child care centers and homes in your area. Please don’t let anyone convince you that it is not important for your child to be at a facility with a license. While inspections are not going to identify all the irregularities, it will insure some training and rules. According to the Division of Child Development in my state of North Carolina, if an individual is caring for more than two children who aren’t related to them for more than four hours a day, they might need to be licensed. The exemption scenarios provided below does not require a license.
Some Exceptions Include:
- Recreational programs that operate a few months within the year
- Activities like dance, music lessons, clubs, etc.
- Public Schools
- Vacation Bible Schools
North Carolina’s Smart Start
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. Currently, I serve on my local Board of Directors. 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 experienced 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:
- There are more children attending high quality care — from 33% to 64% since 2001, when Smart Start began tracking this data.
- Developmental screenings has increased – 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.
- Success rate in school has increased – 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.