Judi Holland: What does quality childcare look like? | CraigDailyPress.com

Judi Holland: What does quality childcare look like?

Judi Holland/For the Craig Daily Press

Judi Holland

As the Program Director of Early Childhood Education at Colorado Northwestern Community College, I have the opportunity through this venue, to share valuable information with families concerning their children, ages 0 to 8, which is considered the Early Childhood years.

My first goal is to help guide parents through the challenging years of early childhood; to cover issues on early childhood education and guidelines on children's development, and to inform families of their importance of becoming involved in their child's education. Parents are their child's first teacher; they know their child's interests and abilities. Families can help their child's teacher when this information is shared.

My second goal is to provide families an opportunity to ask questions by e-mailing their questions to me that I can answer in future articles.

I would like to begin this series of articles with a topic very vital to the working parents — how to find a quality childcare experience for their child and what is a high-quality early childhood program?

According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, a high quality early childhood program provides a "safe and nurturing environment while promoting the physical, social, emotional and intellectual development of young children." So what exactly does this mean?

In such a program you will see:

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• Frequent, positive, warm interactions among adults and children.

• Planned learning activities appropriate to children's age and development such as reading, singing, arts and crafts, movement and writing.

• Enough adults to respond to individual children.

• Many varied age-appropriate materials such as blocks, musical instruments, puppets, games, puzzles, and books.

• Nutritious meals and/or snacks.

• Regular, two-way communication with parents who are welcome visitors at all times.

These qualities can be found in a large preschool setting as well as a family childcare home.

What is the difference between a preschool and a childcare? According to Colorado state licensing for large centers, the only difference between a preschool and childcare is the choice of hours. Some programs offer only morning or afternoon preschool and children only attend a few hours a week. Other programs offer a choice of morning preschool or all day preschool, which works exceptionally well for the working parents. Some family childcare homes offer preschool within their full day program. It is up to the parents to assess their needs and then begin the search for quality care for their child.

How do parents interview a perspective preschool and/or childcare? My next article will have some suggestions and what questions to ask.

Children are our future. They are our heart and soul. We love our children and want to do our best for them. I look forward to hearing from parents and will try my very best to give them the information that they want.

Judi Holland is the program director for Early Childhood Education at CNCC. Reach her at judi.holland@cncc.edu or 970-824-1154.Judi Holland is the program director for Early Childhood Education at CNCC. Reach her at judi.holland@cncc.edu or 970-824-1154.Judi Holland is the program director for Early Childhood Education at CNCC. Reach her at judi.holland@cncc.edu or 970-824-1154.

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