Child care is a major concern and expense for many families, and whether it's part-time or fill-time care, it's important to do your research and ensure that the chosen provider is the right long-term fit for you children's needs. Cost, child to provider ratio, location, and philosophy are all factors in making this important decision. Here's a little more on what SLC families should consider when weighing their child care options.
Register early is you have a specific child care provider in mind. Limited spots may fill quickly and if you'd like your child to participate in a specific program, it's important to contact them to be put on a waitlist even before your baby is born.
Talk with other families about their experiences. Gauging the experiences of families around you may be a more accurate reflection of a child care provider than online reviews or provider-driven promotional content.
Ask the tough questions. If it is important to you, it's important to bring up any questions or concerns with a potential provider.
Child Care Centers
Many child care centers offer families a structured, school-like environment for their children. They are usually made up of multiple classroom by the age of the children. Each classroom may include a teacher and one or more teacher's assistance. Licensed child care centers in the state of Utah are required to maintain a specific child to provider ratio and typically set minimum requirements are set by each center regarding the background and education of those that they employ as teachers and teacher's aids/assistance.
Licensed In-Home Child Care Providers
As with licensed child care centers, licensed in-home daycare providers must also maintain a specific child to provider ratio. That ratio is lower than that of a child care center, as in-home providers are usually working with a smaller team of one or two. The philosophy and day-to-day activities of an in-home daycare setup differ from that of a center as they may be structured different to accommodate their small size and/or the specific needs of the children. In-home child care provides may enjoy a strong bond with the children in their care, but depending on the individual setup, lesson materials and instruction may be less of a focus when compared to a child care center. Along with ratio requirements, there are also other minimum safety and care requirements that in-home caregivers must meet in order to remain licensed.
Unlicensed In-Home Child Care Providers
In-home child care providers not licensed by the state are less regulated than those that are. Without state mandated child to provider ratios or similar criteria to be met, providers have the freedom to operate as they see fit to best meet the needs of the families they work with. Many are kept small and offer a less structured atmosphere. Because the provider is unlicensed, it's recommended that families confirm with references and/or run any background checks they feel necessary.
Private Child Care Provider
A private child care provider, such as a nanny or au pair, may be an option for families that are interested in their child receiving consistent one-on-one attention and care, rather than care provided in a group or class setting. Reference checks and an interview may be necessary, and some may make a hiring decision based on a trial period in order to make sure that the arrangement is the best fit.