One of the most important decisions you will ever make as a parent is choosing quality child care for your child. The Department makes every effort to provide information parents need to make the best possible child care choices. The following resource may help you as you talk to and visit child care centers before deciding on the right fit for your child:

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Learning Stories [57] are documents that are used by caregivers and educators in childcare settings. They use a storytelling format instead of a traditional ‘observation’ report to document the different ways that young children learn, and capture the moment in greater detail and provide parents with a greater insight into the events that occur in their child’s time in childcare.

Our curriculum has been thoughtfully selected to guide the daily experiences at Prestige Preschool Academy. A rich learning environment is developed in the classroom as children and teachers engage in meaningful conversations, stories, singing, creative activities and outdoor play that engage the whole child. Each day is specifically balanced to provide teacher and child-centered experiences which lead to group and individual hands on exploration. Children will find success as they develop physically, linguistically, intellectually, socially, and emotionally. Read more about Curriculum & Programs
However, for-profit day care corporations often exist where the market is sufficiently large or there are government subsidies. For instance, in North America, KinderCare Learning Centers, one of the largest of such companies, has approximately 1,600 centers located in 39 states and the District of Columbia.[64] Bright Horizons Family Solutions another of the largest has over 600 daycare centers.[65] Similarly the Australian government's childcare subsidy has allowed the creation of a large private-sector industry in that country.[66]

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According to Chris Knight, the first humans were few; then the population "exploded .... Population expansion on such a scale is inconsistent with female tolerance of infanticide, harassment, or the heavy costs to mothers of male philandering and double standards. If unusually large numbers of unusually large-brained offspring were being successfully raised to maturity, the quality of childcare must have been exceptional. We know what the optimal solution would have been. There can be no doubt that mothers would have done best by ... taking advantage of every available childcare resource."[44]

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The first crèche was opened by Firmin Marbeau on 14 November 1844 in Paris,[61] The Société des Crèches was recognized by the French government in 1869. Originating in Europe in the late 18th and early 19th century, day cares were established in the United States by private charities in the 1850s, such as the Charity Organization Society founded by Ansley Wilcox. The Fitch Creche in Buffalo, New York was known as the first day center for working mothers in the United States. Another at that time was the New York Day Nursery in 1854.

Legislation may mandate staffing ratios (for example, 6 weeks to 12 months, 1:4; 12 months to 18 months, 1:5; 18 months to 24 months, 1:9; etc.). The caregiver-to-child ratio is one factor indicative of quality of care. Ratios vary greatly by location and by daycare center. Potential consequences of a caregiver:child ratio which is too high could be very serious[citation needed]. However, many states allow a higher numbers of toddlers to caregivers and some centers do not comply consistently. For example, within the US: Pennsylvania, ages 1–3, 1 teacher to 5 children;[68] Missouri: age 2, 1 teacher to 8 children;[69] North Carolina: 1 teacher to 10 children.[67]
In Canada, the workforce is predominantly female (95%) and low paid, averaging only 60% of average workforce wage. Many employees are at local minimum wage and are typically paid by the hour rather than salaried. In the United States, "child care worker" is the fifth most female-dominated occupation (95.5% female in 1999).[17] In the US, staffing requirements vary from state to state.

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Local legislation may regulate the operation of daycare centers, affecting staffing requirements. Laws may mandate staffing ratios (for example 6 weeks to 12 months, 1:4; 12 months to 18 months, 1:5; 18 months to 24 months, 1:9; et and even higher ratios for older children). Legislation may mandate qualifications of supervisors. Staff typically do not require any qualifications but staff under the age of eighteen may require supervision. Typically, once the child reaches the age of twelve, they are no longer covered by daycare legislation and programs for older children may not be regulated.
The quality of childcare given by a facility is generally indicated by the center's cost of enrollment. If the center charges more for the service, it will generally provide better care to the children. Centers that charge more for their services can provide quality education, more current resources, and nicer facilities. These are all helpful when trying to educate a child academically. A higher standard for teachers, such as requiring a degree in early childhood education or a degree of the like, has shown to result in improved growth in the development of a child.
In Canada, the workforce is predominantly female (95%) and low paid, averaging only 60% of average workforce wage. Many employees are at local minimum wage and are typically paid by the hour rather than salaried. In the United States, "child care worker" is the fifth most female-dominated occupation (95.5% female in 1999).[17] In the US, staffing requirements vary from state to state.

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Preschool education (Frühpädagogik) is increasingly seen as an integral part of education as a whole; several states such as Bavaria have released detailed educational plans for daycare carriers who claim state subsidies. "Early pedagogics" has increasingly moved into the academic domain, with an increasing number of staff being trained at universities of applied science (Fachhochschulen) and regular universities. Non-academic personnel in daycare facilities have usually attended specialized schools for several years. In the state of Bavaria for example, daycare assistants (Kinderpfleger) will have attended school for two years, daycare teachers (Erzieher) for three years with an additional two-year internship.
Child care, otherwise known as day care, is the care and supervision of a child or multiple children at a time, whose ages range from six weeks to thirteen years. Child care is the action or skill of looking after children by a day-care center, nannies, babysitter, teachers or other providers. Child care is a broad topic that covers a wide spectrum of professionals, institutions, contexts, activities, and social and cultural conventions. Early child care is an equally important and often overlooked component of child development. Child care providers can be children's first teachers, and therefore play an integral role in systems of early childhood education. Quality care from a young age can have a substantial impact on the future successes of children. The main focus of childcare is on the development of the child, whether that be mental, social, or psychological.[1]
Spain provides paid maternity leave of 16 weeks with 30-50% of mothers returning to work (most full-time) after this[citation needed], thus babies 4 months of age tend to be placed in daycare centers. Adult-infant ratios are about 1:7-8 first year and 1:16-18 second year.[citation needed] Public preschool education is provided for most children aged 3–5 years in "Infantil" schools which also provide primary school education.[citation needed]

In Mexico, President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa created a Social Program named "Programa de Estancias Infantiles" that included more than 8,000 daycare spaces for children between 1 and 3.11 years old. This program subsidizes mothers that work and study and also single fathers in a vulnerable situation. It has a great success having more than 125,000 children over the country. This is regulated by the Social Development Minister (Secretaría de Desarrollo Social).[2]
Childcare varies dramatically across cultures. These discrepancies are attributed to the homestead and household environments. That is, the type of work performed by adult caretakers in a given community strongly influence the type of childcare used. In agricultural/ horticultural societies where work is done to provide sustenance for the community, siblings and similar-aged children are responsible for younger children.[2] While many global communities prefer children aged 7–10 for designated caregiving responsibilities, children no younger than 12 are preferred in the Western world where paid childcare is common.[22]
This website is NOT intended to be used as a referral source.  For further assistance in finding a child care provider who can meet the unique needs of your family, please contact the Child Care Resource & Referral Agency (CCR&R) serving the county you live in by using either their state website at or call (toll free) 877-216-8481.

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Australia has a large child care industry,[72] however in many locations (especially in inner-city suburbs of large cities and in rural areas) the availability is limited and the waiting periods can be up to several years.[73] The Australian government's Child Care Subsidy[74] scheme provides generous assistance with child care costs, but this still leaves many families with a large out of pocket expense. The median weekly cost of centre-based long day care in 2013 was approximately A$364[75] which puts it out of the reach of lower income earners.[76]