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Navigating the Path to Quality Childcare in Chesapeake

A baby wearing neutrals sits on his parents laps. He receives childcare in Chesapeake VA.

Finding Childcare in Chesapeake, VA

As parents, we all wish we could spend more time with our kids. However, during the week many of us are working. This means we are left  with the difficult task of finding childcare for our littles during the workweek. Finding the provider that is best for your family can be a very difficult decision. One quick query to google and you will find that there are many options in the area. This blog post aims to guide parents through the process of selecting quality childcare in Chesapeake, VA that aligns with their values, preferences, and the unique needs of their children.

Understanding Your Needs

Before going down the rabbit hole of options available in Chesapeake, it’s important for parents to understand their own needs and expectations, as well as those of their children. Think carefully when considering work schedules, budget constraints, educational wishes and philosophies, as well as any unique requirements your child may have (i.e. dietary restrictions, and behavior or emotional needs). Taking the time to reflect on each of these things will send you into your search primed to make informed decisions, all to the benefit of your child.

 

Research the Options for Childcare in Chesapeake VA

In every area, you will find that there are many different options for childcare. You will find your traditional daycare centers, preschools (where they have a more academic focus), in-home providers, nannies, and even a plethora of after-school programs. As you research, you should take into consideration the location, reviews, and recommendations from friends, family, and even local parenting groups. Create a list of your top contenders to reach out to and research further.

 

Visit Each Facility for Childcare in Chesapeake VA

Once you have completed your list of potential childcare providers, it is important to see them in-person. Using their website, find the best form of contact for each facility. Reach out and schedule a visit. Seeing the facility with your own eyes will be the best way to judge the environment, cleanliness, and overall atmosphere. Take note of the safety measures in place, the qualifications of the staff, and any available resources to aid in child development. If you are able to bring your child along on the tour, note their behavior as well. Are they immediately comfortable? Do they seem eager to explore the environment? While these behaviors are partly dependent on the personality of the child, it can still help to observe how your child reacts to the environment.

 

Check Accreditation and Licensing

When looking into childcare options, it’s very important to research accreditation and licensing. If the childcare facility focuses on education (like a preschool), you will want to look at their accreditation. Accreditation by a reputable company signifies that the facility is committed to meeting certain standards for quality care and educational practices. The VAAEYC (Virginia Association for the Education of Young Children) has a list where you can look for the facility name.

 

Even if accreditation is not on the top of your list of priorities, you WILL want to check that they childcare facility is at least licensed. The Virginia Department of Education oversees childcare and early childhood education programs. They will monitor a facility through announced and unannounced visits. This careful monitoring ensures that the facilities, activities, and care are all conducive to the welfare of the children being looked after.

Consider Educational Approaches

Each childcare provider is going to have its own unique philosophy when it comes to educational practices. Many early childhood providers emphasize play-based education. Others, especially those who also offer care for older children, will have more structured curriculums. Some facilities even offer multilingual education, giving your child all the benefits of exposure to a language other than English!

 

It’s important to ask questions about the facility’s approach to education and do any further research into the approach so you can fully understand it. Understanding the educational approach will help you decide if it resonates with your own personal beliefs about early childhood learning and education. A deeper understanding will also help you pick a program that aligns with your child’s own unique learning style.

 

Ask About Staff-to-Child Ratios

Virginia Law has certain requirements when it comes to staff-to-child ratios. For the current requirements, it is best to look this information up for yourself. Make sure the facility is aware of the current law, and ask how they maintain ratio with staff breaks and absences. In addition, you will find that some facilities are committed to having LOWER staff-to-child ratios than required by law. Lower ratios means more individual attention for your child, further enriching their learning and growth.

 

Inquire About Safety Protocols

Your child’s safety is going to be your main concern when looking at childcare options. When touring the facility, keep an eye out for safety measures in place. Ask about the safety protocols, emergency procedures, background checks for staff, and any other safety measures in place. Some facilities have their rooms monitored by cameras. Ask if you are able to review footage of your child when there is a concern. A secure and well-maintained environment will help ensure your child’s well-being during their time in childcare.

 

Explore Extra-Curricular Activities

Inquire about any enrichment activities the provider offers. Many offer a variety of extracurricular activities. These could include arts and crafts, music, special visitors (petting zoos, reptile visits, etc.), or even outside field trips. Activities like these aid in the development of the whole child. They will enhance your child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development. And they’re fun!

 

Consider Parental Involvement Opportunities

The very best childcare facilities encourage parental involvement. You are your child’s world, even while you entrust their care to others during the work week. Childcare facilities that understand this will benefit your child the most. Whether through regular communication, parent-teacher conferences, or even volunteer opportunities, a strong connection between the parents and caregivers is nothing but beneficial to the child.

Evaluate the Flexibility of Schedules

Childcare is not a one size fits all endeavor. Families, especially in areas like Chesapeake, with a large military population, often have varying work hours and commitments. Choose a provider that can accommodate any specific scheduling needs your family may have. Ask about full-time, part-time, drop-in, or even overnight care if those are your needs.

 

Childcare in Chesapeake VA

Choosing the right childcare in Chesapeake, VA is an important decision that requires careful consideration. When making your decision you will need to think through your needs (as well as those of your child), research the local options, and evaluate the factors that matter most to you including safety, educational practices, and enrichment. Going into your search having a clear idea of your needs and values will help you make an informed decision. You will rest assured that you have chosen childcare that provides a nurturing environment, perfect for your child’s growth and development. Remember that finding the right childcare is a collaborative effort between parents and providers, ensuring the very best environment for your unique child.

 

As a family photographer, I love being able to capture memories for each of my clients. While you may be spending time apart during the week, your family is still the most important part of your life. If you need a family photographer, I would love to serve you! Contact me today to get started in preserving your special family memories.

 

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