Center Based Care
Day care centers and nursery schools, both sometimes referred to as preschools, provide child care in a group setting. There are planned educational activities and children may be grouped by age or placed in mixed-age groupings. Day care centers are licensed to provide care for infants, toddlers, and/or preschoolers, and they are usually open all day. Nursery schools, on the other hand, provide care for children primarily from two-years-nine-months-old to five-years-old. The typically offer full or part-time schedules and may follow the school-year calendar, closing in the summer.
Define Your Needs
When looking for a day care center, the initial step is to define your needs. You should think about how old your child will be upon entering a center, how many hours per day and how many days per week your child will need care, where a good location for the center would be and how much you can afford to pay. Names of centers do not reveal a lot about their programs. The way to find out about a center’s approach to education and its philosophy is by visiting the program and asking questions.
Compile a List of Centers & Contact Them
When you are ready to find a list of centers, you can look online at the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) website, or you can use the resources of a resource and referral office, such as the Family Resources Office.
Once you have obtained a list of day care centers, you are ready to begin contacting them to learn more about their program and philosophy. This will help you narrow down your list to only those centers who best match the needs and educational values of you and your family. After narrowing the list down to your preferred day care centers, you will then want to schedule a time to visit the program while it is in operation in order to observe the environment and how the providers work with the children.
Review State Licensing Requirements
The state has specific licensing requirements that child care centers must meet in order to be licensed to offer child care in the state of Massachusetts. To read about the licensing requirements that Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) has set forth, please refer to their specific licensing requirements.
The Family Resources Office can assist you in your child care search by referring you to day care centers in the area of your choice. Please complete and submit the Referral Statement Form. Someone from our office will then contact you to find our more information about your specific child care needs and to share how our office can assist you.