Great Start to Quality is my Go-To for Finding Child Care
As I prepare my family and myself mentally to return to work from maternity leave, there is one subject matter I am not stressing about: child care.
This is my third child, but the child care center my older children are at does not take infants. I had to start searching for childcare again, but this time I knew right where to look. The State of Michigan has created a website, Great Start to Quality, to help parents find quality child care options.
As a parent, you are able to search for a program that best fits your needs, and it’s okay to be picky. Don’t forget YOU know what is best for your child and what will work best for your family!
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
What to Look for in a Child Care Provider
If your gut tells you “this is not the place,” don’t ignore it. If you don’t get the answers you’re looking for, keep looking. Your child needs you to assure their safety, health and early learning, especially when you cannot be there. Here are some tips:
Notice how the child care provider interacts with the children. Does the provider talk gently to the children? Does she get down to their eye-level? Do the children respond in a happy, satisfied way?
Is the room set up so that children can reach the toys and books? How does the program embrace all cultures? How often do the children go outside?
What are the provider’s current health and safety procedures? What will they do if your child appears sick or gets hurt? Currently, how are they handling the COVID-19 pandemic?
Higher quality providers will offer a balance of active and quiet times; opportunities for children to make choices; times for larger groups, smaller groups and individual space; and regular schedules that allow for flexibility.
Infants and toddlers need a safe space to explore, learn, and move as well as a safe place to sleep.
How will you learn about your child’s development and what happened during the day?
Do the food menus list healthy, nutritious options? How will breastfeeding moms work with the program?
Why Local Parents Trust Great Start to Quality
I’ve trusted Great Start to Quality and so have others:
“I was so glad to have found Great Start to Quality. They helped me search for child care near my home and office. We liked the 4 Star center near my office the best. We put our name on the waiting list for infant care while I was still pregnant and a spot opened up by the time my baby was born! Greatstarttoquality.org also had lists for what to look for during a visit and questions to ask, those lists were very helpful!” – Megan Smith Jovanovic, new parent
Many more tips about quality child care can be found at Greatstarttoquality.org under the Resources Tab on the main search page. Here is what some other parents have to say:
DON’T RUSH THE PROCESS
Take Your Time – The Perfect Provider for Your Family is out There
With the high cost of child care, parents want to know that they are getting the best for their child and the most for their money.
Michigan now has a five-star rating and improvement system. Great Start to Quality supports early childhood providers in their efforts to improve their programs and helps parents find and choose quality programs.
If I can stress one thing about looking for a childcare provider is this, it is not a fast process. Take the time to read through each of the providers profiles that fit your criteria. The Great Start to Quality Program is a great centralized website for all licensed childcare providers, that will help utilize your time spent looking for childcare. Check it out today!
Stephanie is an adventurous wife and mom who loves everything about Grand Rapids. She and her husband have been together for over 15 years and can’t imagine living anywhere else. It's the perfect size city to find events for their family to attend, but also lets them get home in under 20 minutes. She also enjoys monthly date night, where you will usually find her at a local brewery.