The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Perfect 5-Star Child Care for Your Family

by Mother Huddle Staff
The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Perfect 5-Star Child Care for Your Family

Choosing the right childcare program is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a parent. High-quality programs provide children with a strong foundation for learning. Look for state licensing and safety requirements as well as additional quality standards. Review your state’s childcare consumer education website for tips and resources.

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Location

Choosing a childcare program is a big decision for your family. There are many things to consider, including what kind of care you need and how much you can afford. Some of these factors are a matter of preference, while others affect your child’s safety and their experiences while in care. A State’s star-rated license system helps families like you find quality child care. Each licensed program that is not religiously sponsored is assigned a rating of one to five stars. The star rating is based on two key components: program standards and staff education. The program can add a star to its rating if it earns specific quality points. Many states and territories have similar quality rating systems with different names.

The best way to find the right 5-star Raleigh preschool for your family is to look at various programs. Raleigh, North Carolina’s Primary Beginnings is a 5-star, accredited daycare center. A one-star rating indicates that they provide child care by state regulations. Every additional star, up to five, denotes the extent to which they surpass the minimum requirements. There are three locations for Primary Beginnings in north Raleigh. Preschool programs, after-school care, infant and toddler care, and preschool are all available at each location. They provide summer camps and community events, such as horseback riding and trips to nearby art museums.

Care Providers

When choosing child care, it’s essential to understand the difference between in-home childcare (family members, regular babysitters, nannies, or au pairs) and out-of-home childcare, which includes licensed daycare centers, preschools, and nurseries. It is the primary place your children will spend their time, so it’s worth taking the extra steps to find the right fit.

In addition to visiting the program in person, asking for references from previous and current families is also helpful. However, don’t rely on glowing letters—they can be edited or forged. Every state and territory has its system for rating the quality of child care, which can assist you in weighing your options.

Age Group

You will want to determine whether you need care for infants, toddlers, or preschoolers. Also, consider whether you need before- or after-school care or both. Some childcare programs offer one type of care but not another; others specialize in a particular age group. Programs meet and maintain minimum licensing requirements. They are well-managed and have a stable, qualified staff and a safe environment. They may also have quality criteria, like requiring the head of a group to have an AA in early childhood education/child development or a CDA credential or higher and providing rich, hands-on, and age-appropriate activities. Some tools objectively measure childcare quality by rating thousands of local providers and awarding up to five stars. This information helps parents understand their options, find high-quality child care, and connect with tools and resources to support healthy kids.

Fees

As you research different childcare options, remember to ask about fees associated with the program. Parents are advised to ask about the cost of meals, snacks, and extras like field trips or toys (if your childcare provider offers them). Ask how much the provider charges for a sick day and their policies regarding vacation days and personal emergencies. Also, be sure to ask if your provider has any pets, if their home is smoke-free, and if it’s a safe environment for kids with special needs.

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