Most of everything that your newborn baby has to learn about in the early months rests within 6 feet of where they are located. Whether lying on the ground or being held, your baby is interacting with a very small universe. Finding a daycare for newborns that has an environment that will support growth and learning while keeping them safe and secure is of the utmost importance. These three questions will cover the areas most critical to your child’s well being:
- 1 )What is your Teacher to Child Ratio and what is your Group Size? The number of students per teacher and the total number of students within the classroom are of utmost importance for meeting basic needs and to promote developmental learning.
Look for a 1:4 Ratio for your Newborn or Toddler: Rare NAEYC accredited daycares for newborns follow the lowest ratios for the highest quality (read more about Foundations NAEYC accreditation here). This gives your newborn baby 50% more quality touch time each hour than a daycare that offers a 1 to 6 ratio (the ratio allowed by the state and followed by most daycares). Plus the stress level for teachers and children is twice as high with 50% more babies!
Having 50% fewer students per newborn teacher in your daycare is the single most critical factor that dictates quality of their daily care and curriculum. Ask the teachers directly in your prospective daycare classroom what the normal daily count of newborns and teachers is. Try and get a sense from them about whether they feel supported and receive help when they are over ratio. The teachers are usually your most accurate indicator of the day to day quality within the classroom. Sometimes actual practice differs from advertised ratios because daycares can save money by increasing ratios, and the best way to find out is to observe for yourself, and to ask the teachers directly. Check out Foundations’ wonderful newborn teachers. They are newborn teachers that combine experience and education to provide true excellence!
- 2) How often will my child experience transition? Ask about the rules for moving children from one classroom to the next. Daycares that move children up only once per year are optimal, especially if their teacher and friends move along with them to the next classroom. Some daycares move children throughout the year to make space for additional students. This can cause frequent transitional issues and impede learning. When your child is happy in an environment that is not continually shifting him to new classrooms, he will be able to enjoy more variety in new activities his development can accelerate. Feeling safe and not stressed improves learning for all ages, from newborns to adults.
- 3) What type of activities does the classroom have or is it primarily care based? Children move through ages and stages quickly. It’s important that your child receive more than just care. There are developmentally appropriate activities teachers can provide for each child that encourage growth toward new milestones. Check out Foundations Facebook page for regular updates about classroom activities.
Daycare for newborns can be a wonderful thing when done well, offering the perfect combination of group socialization, play, and quality one-on-one time with their newborn teacher. The best daycares for newborns provide a win-win scenario for working parents. Their newborn or toddler is safe and receiving challenging instruction and quality time while they are kept in the loop with email reports and pictures of the classroom activities. Everybody has a great day and comes out smiling!