The search for a safe preschool or daycare environment can be stressful and daunting. With Finding a Quality Child Care Center Can Be Difficult…Let Me Help, author Jean White endeavors to guide parents in determining the right center for their children while helping them avoid those that she describes as “child farms.”
Written from the point of view of a child telling his parents what he needs, the book is loosely organized into four sections comprising tips, resources, rating sheets, and references. The first section, “Ten Tips on Quality,” contains advice with headings such as “I need a stimulating environment in order to learn,” and “I need to stay healthy,” accompanied by drawings and photos of children playing and learning. The tips are then repeated on following pages, where the concepts are explored more fully, providing further information and guidance.
Maintaining the child’s perspective throughout, White offers advice on everything from the necessity of a healthy, clean environment to the importance of books and age-appropriate educational playtime. Continuity in caregivers is stressed, as is parental vigilance. The author’s introduction includes several true stories of disturbing and sometimes tragic experiences which further illustrate the need for preliminary research. Both the resource and reference sections of the book are extremely sparse, but the rating sheets provided (enough for three separate evaluations) are comprehensive and should prove a particularly helpful tool for parents when evaluating centers.
White’s extensive background as a daycare provider, teacher, and early childhood consultant is impressive and relevant. However, many of the suggestions here are based on common sense and could be expanded if the author more fully called on her own unique qualifications and wisdom. While basic ideas, such as, “Please make sure my teachers are washing their hands and my hands, as they should,” are offered in abundance, providing more warning signs that could be overlooked by those with less experience may be more useful.
A list of supplementary resources and a more accessible format would also improve the book. Readers may be confused at first by the format that lists the ten tips, then repeats them along with interesting quotes. The title could be shortened, making it easier for readers to recall when recommending the book to other parents.
Overall, Finding a Quality Child Care Center is worthwhile and informative. The suggestions and tools provided—particularly the rating forms—will be useful for parents looking for a simple guide as they venture into the sometimes overwhelming world of preschool and child care.