Editors note: This is the first of a two-part series on the decisions of choosing daycare for your child. The second article will focus on …
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Editors note: This is the first of a two-part series on the
decisions of choosing daycare for your child. The second article
will focus on grandparents and their role in childcare, pricing of
daycare and if your child has special needs.
Highlands Ranch resident Carrie Mumma said she is the
“connoisseur of childcare.”
With the birth of her first child four years ago, she
researched, investigated and tried to find a balance for the needs
of her family as well as financially what they could afford for
“I asked a ton of questions,” Mumma said. “I even wanted to know
about the caregiver’s faith and education.”
Deciding on your children’s type of childcare can be one of the
most stressful and overwhelming decisions a parent has to make,
considering the child will be spending many hours in their
“Parents need to make the best decision for themselves as well
as for their child or children based on finances, environment,
convenience, and adaptability,” counselor and therapist Amy Maddox
with Pikes Peak Counseling in Parker said.
“Children who have a tendency to be more social may thrive in a
typical daycare setting with higher numbers of children while other
children who tend to be more shy may feel more comfortable staying
with family or friends of family or even in a home-based daycare
with smaller numbers.”
The Castle Academy in Castle Rock is a full-service, part-time,
and after school childcare center.
“We try to simplify things for the parents,” Joel Green,
director and owner said. From children just six weeks old up to
kindergarten to off-track care, Green said they pride themselves on
the care from their staff, the Montessori curriculum, and having
their own children in the school.
“That should speak for itself,” Green said.
Andrea Price-Stogsdill, president of the Douglas County
Childcare Association, said that parents can use this service to
not only be referred to different licensed childcare providers, but
use it as a resource for caregivers to continue their education,
required by law.
“We have speakers each month for caregivers on how to prepare
kids for kindergarten, different art ideas, and how to report abuse
or neglect for example,” Price-Stogsdill said.
Price-Stogsdill is also the owner of her home childcare
business, Little Engine Home Daycare in Highlands Ranch, and has a
strong connection with her families and their children. She offers
structure, a preschool curriculum, and open communication with the
“I have ‘predictable’ days for the children,” Price-Stogsdill
said. “There isn’t the chance for the children to act-up because
they are not bored.”
The Douglas County Childcare Association, along with Childcare
Network and Colorado Association of Family Childcare, are there as
a resource to help parents during this stressful time.
Some childcare centers or home-based daycares are not licensed
by the state, and therefore may be less expensive. The benefits of
going to a licensed childcare provider, in the State of Colorado,
are there are several steps the caregiver has to go through. From
the initial application, to fingerprinting and background checks to
requirements of CPR and first-aid classes and physicals of all the
When Mumma’s first child began to crawl, she said she had to
re-evaluate her child’s surroundings. Initially she had chosen a
daycare center for her child, feeling that the more eyes on her
child, the better. As her son needed more attention, she didn’t
feel like the original setting was giving him enough structure.
“I wanted a balance of socialization and education,” Mumma said.
“So I felt the ratio of an in-home setting, along with preschool
curriculum, was what he needed.”
When interviewing daycare options, there are many questions
parents need to consider.
What is the daily schedule?
If it is a home environment, who besides the caregiver will be
What about certain dietary needs of your child?
What are the caregiver’s sickness guidelines?
What happens if you are late in picking up your child?
Dr. Kathleen Sandal-Miller, a psychologist with undergraduate
study in early child development had a client one time who said her
family wasn’t into football at all, yet her child all of a sudden
became a huge Bronco fan.
“My client didn’t know the daycare provider’s husband was around
the home a lot,” Sandal-Miller said. “Not that he was a bad man,
but just that people need to make sure they ask a lot of
Sandal-Miller said parents need to take this decision to heart
because they are handing over responsibilities of raising their
child to someone else. Always look at the facilities credentials,
and make sure they are not taking on too much, or too many children
“What is the ratio of attention?” Sandal-Miller said. “Who are
the other children in the group?”
Another idea for researching childcare settings, according to
Sandal-Miller is to drop in unannounced.
“If they seem put-off by it, then you should wonder why.”
“Is the daycare able to tell you about your child’s day?”
Providing the child’s family with a daily “report card” or a
bulletin board for communication on how their child was feeling,
how they slept and ate and socialized with others, is an important
aspect to consider.
Mumma said that she felt the most crucial planning phase of
choosing a daycare setting was to first decide what was most
important to the family, and then tailor questions that way.
“I can pick my kids up at 5 p.m. because their daycare is close
to work,” Mumma said. “You have to really communicate your needs,
stay within your budget, and decide what your a), b) and c)
She said until you know what your needs are, those standard
questions you find on the Internet don’t really matter.
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