JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Finding the perfect daycare or preschool for your child isn’t easy. And now, the pandemic has made it even more complicated. Many parents are struggling to navigate a child care system that’s on the verge of collapse. Know what you can do to give your child the best start.
The COVID crisis has put an enormous strain on moms and dads with jobs. In a recent report, 75 percent of working parents said they currently have a child at home while they work, and half who haven’t returned to work cite lack of child care as the reason.
Researchers surveyed 1,000 parents and compared the way parents rated preschool programs to how experts measured the quality. Results showed parents tended to rank the programs as high-quality when the researchers did not. Also, most parents reported finding child care through family, friends, or local public schools and did little comparison shopping. As COVID has complicated the communication process, the researchers suggest that parents seek out written information from more than one preschool and request a virtual tour. You may also want to ask about class size, the center’s social distancing guidelines, sanitation practices, and the policy if someone contracts the virus.
Most parents in the study looked for warm teachers, a safe environment and support for academic growth. Researchers stressed parents should also observe how adults interact with children and inquire about opportunities for children to be physically active.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer; Julie Marks, Field Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor.