One of the greatest gifts in life is children. The care and loving of those children is often the main focus of many families. While some parents want to to and are able to stay home and care for their own children, other parents want or need to work. These families find themselves in a situation of finding a daycare for their children. The options of childcare providers are both varied and extensive. The process of making a choice can seem overwhelming. What many parents look for is an easy to understand “choosing a daycare checklist.”
Maria Montessori developed ?Follow the Child? as her guiding principle. Her choosing a daycare checklist would likely not sound much like any other list, but it would certainly help parents find a nurturing environment outside of the home for their child.
Exploration. This can look like a group of crawling infants following each other from space to space. Several times during the day the friends might go into a crib room that is open. Within minutes all of the friends have gathered within a few feet of each other in a new location. As a group, they seem to be amazed that they are allowed to be ?alone.? They take turns peaking out the door with a look that definitely asks, ?Do you see what we are doing??
Observation. Following the Child also means remembering to observe before intervening. As parents and educators it is very tempting to think that it is our job to help the children learn. Maria Montessori, however, believed that if we sit back, observe and follow the children, they can often teach themselves. To sing songs their own way. To discover how to roll from one side to another because they have been practicing shifting their weight.
Patience. Adults live in a hurried, fast paced life. It’s a tempo that infants, however, do not have to keep up with. Their time is measured differently. They need time to rest. Time to giggle and listen to their own voices. Time to simply be beside a floor mirror to look at themselves, their friends, and their surroundings.
Sometimes the best place to find exploration, observation and patience is in a childcare setting that employers offer onsite to their employees. A workplace-funded childcare center can offer you the chance to visit your child during lunch or other breaks, and makes pick-up and drop-off very easy. Corporate daycare not only makes an employer more desirable to possible employees, it aids in the retention of tenured employees. In fact, studies show that providing onsite childcare for employees results in increased retention, higher productivity and reduced absenteeism. In addition, employers with onsite childcare may increase employee loyalty, decrease maternity leaves and improve on-job concentration.
If you have started the extensive process of finding a childcare center, especially for infants, you might be lucky enough to find the best option right where you work. With your “choosing a daycare checklist” in hand, consider starting your search at your place of work.