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Child Care Handbook

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  • Environment

    Good lighting
    Rooms occupied by children are clean, attractive, safe, roomy, and comfortable
    Enough toys, games and materials so that children don't have to wait to use them
    Space for each child's belongings, including a change of clothing
    A safe outdoor play area, both shaded and open with a variety of age appropriate equipment free of hazards that offer space to run, tumble and play
    A book center with good picture books
    A parent information board
    Sturdy, child-size furniture
    Windows low enough for a child to look outside with appropriate safety barriers
    Games, arts and crafts, sports and dramatic play for children of all ages
    A seperate crib, cot, or nap mat for each child
    Quiet, dark and seperate nap area
    Are pets present in the facility? If so, will this impact your decision?

  • Program

    A posted schedule of daily activities
    Good balance between planned activities that are age appropriate and time for free play
    Time for conversation, reading, listening to music, homework, or being alone
    Activities are interesting, fun and challenging where children can learn by doing and can succeed
    Children work cooperatively on projects and games to solve problems
    Children make music and/or listen to music, sing and laugh
    Infants, when not asleep, are out of the crib and included in age appropriate activities
    Caregiver(s) play with, sing to, hold, and cuddle each child often throughout the day
    Caregivers meet regularly to plan and evaluate their program

  • Policies

    Up-to-date state license or registration is always posted
    Parent's are actively involved, given opportunities to participate, and welcome to visit at any time
    Wirtten discipline policy eliminating spanking, shaking, or hurting a child in any way
    Emergency procedures are posted
    Policy for handling sick children
    Holidays and hours of operation are clearly posted

  • Staff

    Warm, nurturing, friendly, accepting and patient
    Caregiver(s) with training and experience (regulated providers required 30 hours of training every 2 years; accredited programs have higher standards than State licensing regulations and usually a higher quality program)
    Director or head teacher with college level training in early childhood education (in a day care center or school age program)
    Caregiver(s) work as a team (what is their staff turnover? Low staff turnover may indicate higher quality programs since there has been stable and consistent staff working in the program)
    Parents comfortable talking with the caregiver(s)
    Caregiver(s) comfort a sad or angry child in a loving way
    Caregiver(s) offer positive guidance when a child misbehaves
    Caregiver(s) enjoy working with the children
    Caregiver(s) really listen to the children and parents
    Individual need of children are being met
    Words of sincere praise and encouragement are given
    Caregiver(s) encourage children to learn new skills
    Caregiver(s) are energetic and in control while being flexible and fun
    Caregiver(s) are positive roll models for children
    Refer to "Exploring Your Options" (Types of Care) for information regarding group size and child to caregiver ratios. The lower ratio of caregiver to child allows more time to be spent with each child, which coul lead to a high quality program.

  • Nutrition

    Well-balanced, nutritious meals
    Pleasant and sociable meal times
    Infant and toddlers are encouraged to feed themselves
    Caregiver(s) sit at the table with the children during mealtimes
    Infants held during bottle feedings, and are fed according to their needs and individual schedules
    Bottles are refrigerated until needed, and used promptly
    Leftover formula discarded at the end of the feeding
    Program accommodates special dietary needs

  • Parent Involvement

    Parents are allowed to visit at any time
    Caregiver(s) inform parents about their child's successes and about activities for the day (such as nap schedule, meals, etc.)
    Parents make suggestions about menus, activities and program
    Parents are encouraged to participate in the program
    A parent newsletter and/or bulletin board
    Regularly scheduled parent meetings
    Parents are encouraged to advocate on behalf of their child (goals, special needs, etc.)

  • Diaper and Toilet Routines

    Child size toilet and sinks
    Diapers changed without delay after they are soiled or wet, and infants are thoroughly cleaned after the dirty diaper is removed
    Changing table surface is disinfected after each child is changed
    Caregiver(s)' and child's hands washed after changing each diaper
    Toileting begins only when the child is physically ready, interested and able to understand the process of using the toilet
    Parents involved in the decision to begin toilet training for their child
    Toilet training is a positive, pleasant part of the day

  • Health and Safety

    Children are supervised by caregiver(s) at all times
    A first-aid/CPR trained staff member at the site at all times
    A smoke free environment (even when children are not present)
    A well maintained supply of fire extinguishers, first-aid kits, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in the facility
    Toys and equipment are clean, sanitized and in good repair (for example: free from sharp edges, splinters, paint chips and loose parts)
    A written health record is kept for each child
    Children will be released to another person only if you have given written permission in advance
    Area that is used for food preperation and eating is clean and sanitary
    Written procedures for reporting suspected cases of child abuse and neglect by parents or caregiver(s)
    Written policy stating that medication will only be given to children by a caregiver who is certified to administer medication
    Written policy for handling sick children
    Diapering/toilet areas clean, free from odor, well ventilated and removed from the feeding area
    Pads and blankets changed and laundered daily or more often as needed
    All children and caregiver(s) wash their hands after using the toilet, before and after eating, and as needed throughout the day

  • Warning Signs

    The program does not encourage parents to visit or observe
    The children move about without any guidance or involvement for 30 minutes or more
    The caregiver(s) spend most of their time scolding or yelling at the children

Be sure to check with other parents for references about a provider(s) or call the regional office for a history of vioaltions, (845) 708-2400. The website listed below can also be accessed for history on the provider as to whether the provider has had any compliance issues.
Please note that you can obtain a copy of the NYS Child Care Regulations by contacting our office or by visiting the Office of Children and Family Services website at www.ocfs.state.ny.us.

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