Quality child care programs can provide a wealth of comprehensive services which contribute to the overall welfare of the children and their families. These services include: (a) Healthy nutrition, (b) preventative health care, (c) monitoring of child development, (d) provision for sick children, (e) consultation with outside specialists for individual child and family needs, (f) advocacy, (g) provision of services to children with disabilities, (h) parent involvement programs, (i) planned and organized activities, and (j) continual staff growth and development (Gotts, 1988). Provision of these services will help to provide the enriched environment each child needs for positive growth and development. They will also lead to beneficial relationships, another key ingredient in quality child care programs.
Forming positive relationships between the caregiver and the parent and the caregiver and the child is essential to providing quality care. A parent needs to feel free to visit the child care program at all times and needs to be notified and made aware of any problems that arise. A parent must feel free to discuss any concerns with the care giver. Equally important for parents is knowing what happens in the day to day occurrences in the life of their child, and having a sense that their child is important to the child care provider.
In a study conducted to determine which aspects of child care would enhance children’s development, Clarke-Stewart (1987) found that “a caregiver whose interactions with the child were responsive, accepting, and informative” was a quality “that predicted good child development (p.113).” Children who have established positive relationships with their child care provider will exhibit happiness and comfort in the child care setting, which can be one of the best indicators of a quality program.
Quality child care has the capability of promoting trust, autonomy, and a true sense of happiness and well being in children. It can lead to positive social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development. Quality child care needs to be a high priority in our nation and be supported by all in our society. Society needs to “increase its investments in child care staff…and ensure adequate financing and support of child care (Cost, Quality, and Outcomes Study Team, 1995).” In that way we will be investing in our future – our children.
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Gotts, E.E. (1988). The right to quality child care. Childhood Education, 64, 269-273.
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Reprinted with permission from the National Network for Child Care – NNCC. Boschee, M.A., & Jacobs, G. (1997). Ingredients for quality child care. Internet. National Network for Child Care. (www.nncc.org).