Hudson Valley Parent

HVP January 2020

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16 Hudson Valley Parent n January 2020 in child/infant CPR and first aid and undergo a background check (in- cluding family members for in-home day care providers). Isabelle Dichiara of LaGrangeville, NY, narrowed her choice for her three boys by researching options. "I had no idea whether I wanted a daycare near home or work, a center or a private home or even a nan- ny," she said. "I contacted my local childcare council to talk through my options, locations, types, etc. I used that list to call about space and price and make visits." The terms' nursery school' and 'preschool' are often used interchangeably. While both provide structured learning environ- ments for children ages 3-5, some nursery schools also offer infant care for younger siblings. The teaching staff should be certified or at least trained in teaching methods and ear- ly childhood development and have proven experience working with children in an educational setting. For now, freelance photographer Silvia Forni of Red Hook , NY, said her son, River, 21 months, attends both a home daycare and preschool. By ROXANNE FERBER S electing the right childcare for your little one can feel overwhelming. What is the difference between daycare, nursery school and preschool, anyway? As you begin your search, consid- er your child's age and needs to meet the level of care and programing required. Here is a breakdown of the most important things to consider: Daycare centers provide staff and structure like a classroom. The size and location of a center may make a difference for your child. A daycare center may have larger staff-to-student ratio than home-based site and provide learning centers, story time and snacks or meals. Daycare in a home may be less structured than those in centers and provide more individual- ized time with fewer children. Whichever location you chose, be sure the provider is licensed and in- sured. A license does not guarantee quality of care but ensures a level of oversight by a state or county agency and staff training. At minimum, daycare providers should be certified "We are still in between, but prob- ably will choose the preschool," she said. "We like the idea that it's more structured; they do draw time, mu- sic, crafts, and it is bigger." Select a regulated school that fits your child. Relying on word-of-mouth recommendations from other parents is helpful, but doesn't always reflect appropriate accreditation. Check for a license through the New York database (see box), and visit the school while class is in session to observe staff inter- actions and the overall classroom management. You may also see how discipline is handled, the types of snacks or meals provided and if the school's philosophy aligns with your child's needs. Sharon Laidlaw of Glenford, NY, carefully onsidered what she thought would be the best fit for the personality and learning style of her son, Lucas, now 11. "His first program (ages 3-4) was very play based and (included) lots of time outside," she said. "It was important to us that there was an emphasis on hands-on learning and How to decide on daycare, nursery school or preschool Find the best fit for your child's personality and learning style River Leone Forni von Stoddard attends a home daycare program, along with a separate preschool center. (Continued on Page 18) Photo: Michael Bloom,

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