So you are planning to leave your sweetheart to day care where she will spend significant time of the day. In the wake of recently reported incident where a maid abused a 10 month old child in a Karghar (Mumbai) based day care , though this was not the first such, it becomes crucial for every parent to be well aware of the basic facilities and requirements laid down by the government. Check out the following list and secure your children’s safety.
Do you know The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) policy, India, outlays basic criteria for preschools that include space-child ratio, staff-kid ratio and other regulations that is applicable to all private and government-run preschools?
The bitter fact is that a large no of day care centers in India don’t meet the basic requirement set by the government. Though the starting charges are from Rs. 500 per hour per month, there is no upper limit, most of these are reckless in hiring their caregivers and staff.
You don’t need to wait for government agencies for coming and checking qualifications, affiliations, and regulations of concerned day care preschool. It I important that you do your own bit of job so you don’t have to regret later. Try this checklist for a good reliable day care and preschool.
Registration – No registration required before starting a preschool. But, professional preschool or day care are either are Pvt limited or LLP or are registered under Section 8 as company or trust as non – profit entities. But, the same can be seen as differentiating factor.
Home Vs Franchise – Many shops set at home by individuals are not equipped with necessary facilities and infrastructure. If asked they will give you excuses like we provide home environment etc. But, as you decide to trust your little one, you may need to see the complete checklist. The better option is to go for established standard franchise based day care. Some known brands are Eurokids, Kidzee, Kangaroo kids, Vidyanjali preschool etc. These are brands and have their curriculum and standards set as per basic international criteria.
Space child ratio requirement: According to the directives are concerned, a maximum of 30 children may be accommodated in a classroom measuring 35 sq m with outdoor space of 30 sq m. See if there is enough space for each child. There should be separate play, sleeping and dining areas. Do they have a play ground, mini swimming pool and sand play area? Find out.
Staff-kid ratio – Govt laid the minimum teacher per child ratio to 1:20 for children between 3-6 and 1:10 for those younger than three. This is applicable to all govt and private day care/ pre schools.
Kitchen: Also, there should be separate section for cooking nutritional meals. Any good standard day care should have a set menu for the week with nutritional values mentioned in it. Check if they prepare fresh food. Check kitchen for cleanliness and fresh food.
Safe drinking water: Confirm if there is RO or mineral water facility at the centre or not.
Child friendly toilets: Each day care centre should have child friendly toilet facilities. Look for that too.
CCTV enabled campus: Many new generation high end day cares, are CCTV enabled. That is parents can watch their kids activities on their mobiles while sitting in their office and know their child is safe. But as most of we parents will stat demanding the same from all the day care, they will need to include it as basic infrastructure facility and not a premium service.
Staff Qualifications: Did you know that assistant/didi who your love of life is going to be with and talking to most of her active time doesn’t require a minimum qualifications? Watch out. Insist on knowing. Established preschools have basic educational qualifications eg. Minimum qualification for aayas (maids) is XII standard and minimum for the teachers is Montessori certificate.
Curriculum: Ask for the curriculum that your child play school follows. That might give you insight.
Timetable: A preschool and day care would have a daily and weekly timetable that decides all the activities in advance is an indicator that it is an organized place. SO, there will be set meal time, dance time, play time and learning time for your kid.
Police verification: In the wake of rising crime against children, who knows that a didi/assistant who is changing the diapers of your baby is an abuser or a pedophile? So, insist on asking if the employed staff has police verification or not.
Meet and talk with staff and care givers: It takes five minutes to judge the quality of staff. Informally meet and interact with a staff or caregiver who will be taking care of your child and ask some intelligent questions. You may prepare a list of questions that you may ask authorities and others to serve your purpose.
First aid services: What if your child meets an accident in the preschool? Do they have in house doctor or first aid facility? How approachable is their doctor on call in such a case. Inquire about that.