A quality day care encourages parent involvement through a variety of activities. By staying involved, you know what's going on at the day care and you build a sense of community for your young child. Your level of involvement depends on your time availability and the options available from the day care center.
A communication method between home and day care keeps parents involved in the daily activities. Your child care should already have a way to share information about your child's day. A verbal recap of the day's events when you pick up your child is one option. Other child care programs send home written communications such as newsletters or notes about problems that arise. Check for a bulletin board with posted information to stay in the loop about day care information. Some child care centers have conferences for parents as a way to connect. As a parent, you should communicate information relevant to the day care. For example if your toddler is potty-training, share progress with the teachers.
A day care with an open-visit policy encourages parent involvement. By dropping in occasionally, you see your child in the day care setting -- an environment you don't normally experience. Finding time to stop by is often challenging, but even a few minutes in the day care room keeps you involved in the process. Choose one lunch break per week to spend with your little one at day care, or leave work a few minutes early to watch your little one before pickup time.
Parent committees offer a way to stay involved in the day care even if you don't have time to volunteer during the day. Meetings typically happen in the evening when parents have more availability. The extent of your involvement ranges from giving feedback on the program to helping with fundraising, marketing and community involvement. If your child's day care doesn't have a parent advisory board or committee, create one. The director gets more involvement from families and might discover resources she didn't know where available.
Special events sponsored by the day care get families involved in the program. Child care programs often plan open house nights where families visit the center and do special activities. The planned activities often give you a glimpse of what your child does each day while you're at work. Other examples of special events include music programs and class parties for holidays. A similar way the day care might get parents involved is through special home activities. A display about your family or a craft project you do as a family to display at day care is an example of a family involvement activity.
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