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  • How to Choose the Right Daycare Center for Your Child

    Last October 9, there was another story that stirred up hatred and dismay of many people, particularly of mothers. Why, because it was another abuse which (allegedly) took place in a child care facility. This is not the first, and we all mums, hope that this ought to be the last, as we feel for every abused child and for every hurting parent. According to
    Strait Times, "A nine-month-old baby suffered second-degree burns to his arm after being allegedly scalded at a childcare centre in Boon Lay."

    "According to Ms Foo, a minder from the centre at Boon Lay told the boy's parents that someone had accidentally spilled coffee on the child. However, the parents did not find any coffee stains on his arm and requested to review the closed-circuit television footage. "The video show differently from what they claim to be," said Ms Foo in her online post. Ms Foo wrote that the case has been reported to the Ministry of Social and Family Development and the child has been withdrawn from the childcare."

    Sadly, this isn't the only one, remember that there was also that controversial video of a teacher hurting a young boy, in (but of course), childcare facility a few months ago? Heart-breaking, definitely.

    As parents, since we know how important day care centers are in helping us prepare our kids for school and shape their social, motor, physical and mental skills, the more that we need to be more mindful and meticulous when choosing the right child care facility for our kid/s. Because remember, in our absence, people in the daycare center are our kids' second parents, thus, making it their second home,too.

    So how do we choose the right one? According to Babycenter.com, "Approach your daycare search as you would a job hunt. Be thorough, do your homework, and start your quest early – six months before you'll need it isn't too soon, especially if you live in a large city where daycare slots fill up faster than subway cars during rush hour."

    Here are the steps we all need to take to make our quest successful which in the course of time would benefit our beloved little ones:

    1. Start Early

    Start looking as far in advance as you can. No matter what type of care you are considering - a child care center or care in someone else's home - finding the right child care option can take some time.
    2. Make a Call
    Begin your search by calling Child Care Link hotline number: 62585812 - or do your search online on www.childcarelink.gov.sg. Child Care Link is a one- stop portal that can give you the facts about child care, and a list of child care options in your area that may meet your needs. In addition to what is in this brochure, make sure to ask them:
    · What are the licensing requirements in my area?
    · How can I get information about complaints and licensing violations?
    · Does my family qualify for any child care financial assistance programs?
    3. Visit and Ask Questions
    Visit the child care options you are considering. Find out about these key indicators of quality:
    · Adult to Child Ratio. Ask how many children there are for each adult. The fewer the children for each adult, the better for your child. You want your child to get plenty of attention. The younger your child, the more important this is. Babies need an adult to child ratio of no more than 1:4 (one adult for four infants), while four-year-olds can do well with a ratio of 1:10 (one adult for 10 children).
    · Group Size. Find out how many children are in the group. The smaller the group, the better. Imagine a group of 25 two-year olds with five adults, compared to a group of 10 with two adults. Both groups have the same adult to child ratio. Which would be calmer and safer? Which would be more like a family?
    · Caregiver Qualifications. Ask about the caregivers' training and education. Caregivers with degrees and/or special training in working with children will be better able to help your child learn. Are the caregivers involved in activities to improve their skills? Do they attend classes and workshops?
    · Turnover. Check how long caregivers have been at the center or providing care in their homes. It's best if children stay with the same caregiver at least a year. Caregivers who come and go make it hard on your child. Getting used to new caregivers takes time and energy that could be spent learning new things.
    · Accreditation. Find out if the child care provider has been accredited by a national organization. Providers that are accredited have met voluntary standards for child care that are higher than most state licensing requirements.The Pre-School Qualification Accreditation Committee (PQAC) by the Ministry of Education and The Early Years Qualification Accreditation Committee (EYQAC) which is set up by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) as part of the broader quality agenda to establish and enhance the standards of programmes and practices for children aged 2 months to 3
    years in centre-based child care and The Singapore Pre-school Accreditation Framework (SPARK) which is a quality assurance framework introduced by the Ministry of Education to raise the quality of pre-schools in Singapore. help in the accreditation of child care programs.
    4. Make a Choice
    Think about what you saw at each visit, and make the best choice for your child and family.
    5. Stay Involved
    The work isn't over when you find good care for your child. You and your child's caregiver are partners now.
    Here are some ways to be involved:
    · Have parent-caregiver meetings regularly, and ask questions.
    · Offer to volunteer time when needed, like participating in clean up days, fixing broken toys.
    · Be there for your child's birthday party.
    · Visit your child at child care and read a book aloud.
    · Join in special events, like field trips and/or holidays.

    Even if you can't get time off from work during the day, you can still check in at drop-off and pick-up times. Ask the caregiver how things are going, and how your child is doing.

    Visiting and participating in events at your child's provider sends a strong message. It tells your child and your child's caregiver that you think what your child is doing and learning is important.

    Should you have further inquiries, you could give a call tothe Customer Service Center of the Ministry of Education at telephone number:
    (65) 1800 8722 2220.

    "MummySG, where every Mum is awesome."

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