Would an early childhood program suit your needs?

child care and preschool - toddler sensory experience


  • You get to be part of a larger school community. You and your child get to make lifelong friends.
  • Your child learns to negotiate with friends, share, build relationships, and be independent.
  • The school will help make your child’s learning visible. The program will support and challenge you and your child to learn and grow.
  • A variety of art, music, sensory, math, science, physics, social, and outdoor experiences will be available for your child every day.
  • Knowledgeable teachers can identify any atypical development.
  • Group care standards for health and safety are regulated by the state and you can view records on the department of social services website.
  • You will have a network of teachers knowledgeable in caring for children, child development, and parenting.
  • Some people believe group care can strengthen young children’s immune systems before elementary school.
  • High quality child care has been researched to be beneficial to children’s development, social emotional regulation, academic performance, and later achievement. However, the ideal age to enter care, effects of philosophy, and amount of time in a program are disputed.


  • High quality care is very costly.
  • It can be difficult to find and get into a good program.
  • You may need to adapt to the program’s schedule, rules, routines, and expectation.
  • Sometimes your beliefs may conflict with the program’s philosophy.
  • Your child may be exposed to things you would prefer they were not exposed to. (food, conflicts with peers, cleaning supplies, language, noise during sleep, etc.)
  • Some families feel guilty or judged by others for using child care.
  • You may find your child picking up negative habits, colds, germs, or aggressive behaviors. Research has shown no link between early care and aggression.
  • Low quality child care however has been researched and is found to be detrimental to children’s development, sense of security, attachment, and self-regulation.

Reflecting on Sending Your Child to School

Even if you find the most amazing high quality program there will be challenges, times you disagree with the school practices, and it may be stressful. Consider the positives and negatives above and think through the following questions.

  • What would a day look like for my child in this program, now, in a year, and in a few years?
  • At what age is quality out of home care right for our family? How do I feel my child should spend his or her days? What do I want for my child in the coming months and years?
  • What are the program’s goals for children? How does the program they assess children’s development and how do I feel about my child being assessed?
  • How do I feel about the program’s policy for guiding behavior? How will I handle a conflict with my child’s teachers?
  • What will I worry about if I am away from my child? What can I do to mitigate my worry?
  • What can my partner and I do to stay connected with our child at home and school? How will I connect with the school? How would I like to participate in the school?


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