St. Louis, MO

A Light Shines in Missouri

The Missouri State Legislature has finally approved a three year pilot program to rate the quality of childcare centers.  This action has direct benefit for families and young children; parents will now have some guidance as they select childcare centers. A rating system will define quality such as what follows in this blog.

The ‘look’ of the center should be just one of multiple factors in making a decision to use a center.  Yes, it should be clean, have lots of toys, and be safe.  But centers can be too clean.  Young children are active learners.  Frequently throughout the day, the rooms are messy as children create with paint or play in the house area.

The teachers’ and director’s philosophy of how children learn should be evident throughout the building. Children learn by doing and learning is very active.

The way teachers guide children through routines, activities and conflicts should be positive and appropriate for the age of children.

The curriculum should be appropriate for the children, it should be challenging and varied to the interests and abilities of the children in the group.  An example might be activities in art.  Art work should be open-ended so that no two pieces of children’s artwork look alike; art is viewed as a way for children to express feelings and ideas.  Yet very young children such as two year olds need to have time with art materials to explore the material itself.  What does paint smell like, how does it feel, what can happen when paint and a brush are used?  These ideas are much different from older four year old children representing things in paint—such as themselves, houses, and rainbows.

A quality rating system of childcare centers will look at children’s learning, toys and materials, discipline policies, routines and curriculum.  Such a system will enable parents to make the best decisions

The rating system should be embraced by the childcare directors and teachers.  For we all want what is best for children!!!!


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