When you have a baby in need of childcare, it’s important you find a daycare program that has been designed with infants in mind. Not every daycare facility in Phoenix, AZ accepts infant daycare enrollment—some are designed primarily for toddlers and up—so you must do your due diligence before selecting a daycare program to make sure it’s one that will be suitable for your infant.
Any program you choose should have clear, developmentally-appropriate programming designed for infants. Here are just a few examples of some of the characteristics of a daycare running a high-quality infant care program:
- Staff trained and educated in early childhood development: The type of training and education the staff at the facility possesses will be one of the best ways to determine if the team is capable of adequately caring for infants. Early care is different than preschool or elementary education, and focuses on the unique characteristics and learning abilities of babies and toddlers to ensure caregivers stick to good daily routines and plan appropriate activities.
- Creation of age-appropriate environments: Babies and toddlers need to have safe, age-appropriate spaces for active and quiet play, as well as safe sleeping locations and the ability to interact one on one with caregivers. Toys, activities and other items must be selected for their specific abilities and stages of development.
- Adherence to health and safety regulations: There are certain health and safety regulations that every childcare facility must follow. A failure to adhere to any of these guidelines should rule out the facility, especially given the higher safety and health needs of infants.
- Small groups: Daycare facilities should focus on having small group sizes in their infant and toddler programs. For infants ages six weeks to 18 months, there should be one caregiver for every four children. For toddlers ages 18 months to three years, there should be one caregiver for every five toddlers, with group sizes no larger than 12.
- Cultural components: For families that have specific cultural, religious, ethnic or other beliefs, traditions and issues they want to be a part of their child’s upbringing even from a young age, it can be helpful to find daycare facilities capable of implementing these measures.
- Individualized programming: Daycare curriculum for the under-three ages is focused on an understanding of child development and following appropriate practices while accounting for each child’s individual temperament and needs. Programs should include goals for each child’s development, materials used, experiences provided and how caregivers and families will work in collaboration.
- Primary caregiver: Early childhood daycare should focus on providing a primary caregiver to ensure a caring, one-on-one relationship with the young child, who needs a lot of individual attention. This also ensures greater continuity of care between parents and the daycare provider, which can follow individual instructions provided by parents.
For more information about some of the characteristics you should look for in daycare for infants in Phoenix, AZ, reach out to Magical Star Preschool today. We’d love to tell you more about the programs we offer!