By Emily Remaklus & Erin Marsh
Finding the place for you
Child Care. Preschool. Curriculum. Play-based. Montessori. Step Up to Quality star ratings. There’s so much to think about these days as you look for safe, affordable, quality child care and/or preschool for your little one. It’s daunting. Where do you start the search to find the learning experience that works for you? This Child Care & Preschool Guide can take a lot of the work and stress out of the search for you. Learn about the different types of centers and preschools offered in the area to find the one that’s right for you.
Questions to Ask When Visiting/Interviewing Preschools and Daycare Centers:
o What does an average day look like?
o Is the curriculum play-based, academic-based or Montessori?
o What kind of support does the school offer for children with special needs?
o Does the center offer half days and/or full days?
o Does the center have early drop off and/or late pick up for working parents?
o Is lunch provided for children who stay a full day?
o Is the location and program a good fit for your child and family?
o What is the adult to child ratio?
o What training/certifications and experience do the teachers hold?
o How long has the school been operating?
o What kind of diversity does the school offer?
o What sets this school apart from others?
o Think about your child’s personality and ask if the school would be a good fit for him/her?
o What is the school’s Step Up to Quality star rating?
o Ask for a parent referral so you can talk about the school from a parent’s perspective.
6393 Oak Tree Blvd Independence, OH
216-698-7500 | esc-cc.org/content.aspx?id=237840
Formerly Help Me Grow of Cuyahoga County, Bright Beginnings provides services that promote the health and development of infants and toddlers so children start school healthy and ready to learn. Bright Beginnings works with families to provide programing in the home or a community setting to help children reach milestone goals. Bright Beginnings supports families through the Parents as Teachers program and Early Intervention services in Cuyahoga County, and provides connections to the Help Me Grow system of supports and community resources throughout Ohio.
Children’s Discovery Center
For children as young as 6 weeks old up up until 10 years old, Children’s Discovery Center has a place for your child. In addition to child care, Children’s Discovery Center offers full day kindergarten programs, before and after school care, and a summer camp for school-aged children. With multiple centers throughout the Toledo area, all are open from 6:30am-6:00pm, with some opening a little earlier and some closing a little later. Children’s Discovery Center stands apart from other centers by using the Reggio Emilia educational philosophy which focuses on inquiry-based learning. Children explore and learn concepts by investigating, creating, and collaboratively solving problems in a group atmosphere. Additionally, their enhanced teaching approach incorporates S.T.E.A.M. fields of study into early childhood education. Children’s safety is a major focus for Children’s Discovery Center. Each educator goes through a 3-step interview process that includes verifying references, background checks and training. All centers have complete surveillance system to help maintain a safe environment for the child.
Step Up to Quality Stars: What do they mean?
Erin Holleran, Step Up to Quality Specialist at The YWCA CCR&R, explains, “Step Up to Quality is Ohio’s quality rating initiative, ensuring that children receive the highest quality early childhood experiences available. Providers who are star-rated go above and beyond child care licensing requirements by providing intentional lesson plans, child screenings and assessments, higher staff qualifications and supports, and family engagement and education opportunities.”
Sylvania Children’s Center
3421 Talmadge, Toledo
Sylvania Children’s Center is a year-round nationally accredited child care facility celebrating its 26th year of serving children. The center strives to inspire a love for learning in even the youngest children, serving children from 6 weeks to 6 years old. During the school year, hours are designed around a traditional school day from 8:30am-3pm. However, extended care is offered starting at 7:30am and ending at 5pm. Sylvania Children’s Center uses hands-on experiences to help children become active learners, with a special emphasis placed on reading and math skills. However, along with the academics, the center recognizes the importance of play to help children develop socially, emotionally, and intellectually. Class sizes are kept small to ensure that teachers get to know the children well and that each child’s learning is geared towards their individual learning style, interests, personality, and skills. Because classes are kept small, enrollment is not year round. Enrollment begins in March for the upcoming school year and classes do fill up fast, so be sure to contact Sylvania Children’s Center early.
St. Catherine of Siena
1155 Corbin, Toledo
St. Catherine of Siena is currently in their 5th year of operation with 155 students from ages 3-5 years old. The school is a Catholic school, but welcomes students of all faiths. It operates a 3 floor building that used to be an elementary school, which means the school has a library, science lab, full sized gym, computer lab, art room, music room, and Atrium for religious programs. A cafeteria, also in the building, offers a hot lunch and breakfast program. All PK teachers are licensed by the Ohio Department of Education with either a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Education. Additionally, each employee maintains a minimum of 15 hours of professional development a year. The school also has 5 stars from SUTQ, which means they meet high standards. Hours of operation are from 8am-3pm, with the option for a half day program from 8-11am. For parents who may work earlier or later hours, St. Catherine of Siena offers Extended Day which operates from 6-8am and 3-6pm. These hours are the same during the summer as well. Open House was on February 24th, but students are accepted year round as long as there are openings in the class. Enrolling a child at St. Catherine of Siena is affordable. The school offers Early Childhood Education Grants for qualified students and accepts publicly funded child care benefits as a way to pay tuition.
Benefits of Preschool
Sending your tiny 3-year-old to preschool may be daunting, but study after study reveal the same finding: children who attend public preschools are better prepared for kindergarten than those who don’t.
Experts in the field of early childhood education compiled their research into one cumulative report:
“The Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre-Kindergarten Effects,” and the authors include big names from the early childhood world, all of whom work for prestigious universities, such as Duke, Vanderbilt, and Georgetown.
They break down their findings into the following:
All children benefit from preschool, but poor and disadvantaged children make the most gains.
Children who are dual-language learners make larger strides in their English-language proficiency and other academic skills when they attend preschool.
Children are immersed in a diverse atmosphere when attending preschool, which has social advantages for children from all socioeconomic backgrounds.
Not all preschool programs are alike.
Do your research and ask around. Preschools with a “well implemented, evidence-based curriculum” who hire qualified teachers, and then continue to train those teachers, have a higher success rate in general.
YWCA Child Care Resource and Referral
1018 Jefferson, Toledo
Although not a child care center, the YWCA’s Child Care Resource and Referral offers a wide variety of resources for parents and child care workers, helping parents find child care that meets the needs of their individual child. Additionally, the organization offers courses to help strengthen parenting skills. For child care workers, the YWCA assists by helping them with earning Step Up to Quality star ratings, Ohio’s rating initiative geared towards making sure all children receive high quality early childhood education.
EduCare Academy is a great place for children from as young as 6 weeks up until 12 years old. There are 10 locations in Northwest Ohio which are open from 6am-6pm. For those who work later, EduCare has an 11th location at 806 Starr Avenue which stays open until 10pm. EduCare is the largest chain of childcares in Ohio that operates on the award winning 5 Star Level, which is the highest level in the Step Up To Quality rating system and requires degreed teachers in each classroom. The school also does quarterly training on various subjects from safety to curriculum to ensure their teachers have continued education. Additionally, EduCare was awarded a grant from the Ohio Department of Education to provide free preschool to eligible children in the Toledo area. Enrollment is available year round, but the summer camp that is offered fills up very quickly, so be sure to contact EduCare early if interested in the summer program. New families who are interested in EduCare are invited to try the center to see if it is a good fit by taking advantage of their first week free offer.
Preschool vs. Childcare
While the terms preschool and childcare are used interchangeably, and despite the fact that they share similarities, they are decidedly different.
Preschool programs aim to prepare toddlers for school, with a greater emphasis on early learning and academics. Preschool typically only accepts children ages 3 to 5 and tends to have more teachers with training in Early Childhood Education. Preschool curriculums generally follow the school calendar, which means they are closed during holidays and summer vacation, and they maintain typical school hours, usually something like 8 to 3, with the option of half days.
Childcare refers to any setting where a child is looked after — from a nanny to a daycare. Daycares generally leave plenty of time to explore and incorporate play-based learning, and many daycares now also include structured early learning and pre-academics. Childcare centers generally accept infants up to school-age children with the option, for working parents, of extended care before and after school hours.
Christ the King
4100 Harvest Lane, Toledo
Christ the King Preschool welcomes all potty-trained children from 3-5 years old. Programs include the 3 year old program that runs on Tuesday and Thursdays from 8:45-10:45am or 12:30-2:30pm, and the 4 year old program that includes two options — a full week morning program or Monday/Wednesday/Friday from 8-10:45 or 11:45-2:30. Extended care is available from 7:30am to 6pm for all programs. Christ the King is a Catholic kindergarten prep school that teaches academics and the diocesan religion standards. Children are treated individually when it comes to learning and teachers work with parents to determine the education goals for your child. All head teachers have early childhood degrees, and the assistant teachers have all been working in preschool for over fifteen years. Registration starts in February for the next school year which will run from August to May.
Little Village Preschool
1315 Michigan Ave, Maumee
Serving infants through school age, Little Village Preschool provides challenging, yet developmentally appropriate experience for all children enrolled. The school’s highly structured program offers both child choice and teacher directed activities that focus on the development of skills in the following areas: language and literacy, math, fine and gross motor, science, social studies and social emotional maturity. Interactive applications allow families to stay connected to their child’s daily activities and milestone accomplishments. Frequent assessment identifies each child’s unique capabilities and individual plans focus on meeting milestone goals. Call today to schedule a tour.