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Finding the best childcare is an all-important decision — after all, what could be more important than your little one? The perfect Peterson Park daycare facility will help take the pressure off of you and make sure your child is always in great hands. Whether you’re looking for an in-home caregiver, family daycare, or formal childcare center, it is crucial to do thorough research and figure out what will work best for you and your child.
To help you make the right decision, we’ve created a handy guide with everything you need to know when sizing up daycare options in this family-friendly neighborhood. Here you’ll learn the ins and outs of daycare, get advice on what might work for your situation, and find quick FAQs to help you arrive at an ideal choice.
How Does Daycare Work?
Daycare is an indispensable part of everyday parenting life, especially for households that require two incomes to make do financially. Other parents opt for daycare centers to couple a robust home life with working for the sake of the whole family. It’s often the best and perhaps the safest option for single parents who typically don’t have the capacity to work and raise a child at the same time.
But how does daycare actually work? Before we dig into the nitty-gritty of how daycare works, it’s paramount to understand that there are two most common types — group daycare centers and family daycare, and each works in a bit different way.
Group daycare centers: Also known as child-care centers, these are traditional daycare facilities where you drop off your child to be looked after by professionals. These centers usually operate much like a kindergarten, pre-school, or even a full-fledged school where children of different ages are cared for in different groups. They are typically state-licensed and staffed with trained teachers and caregivers.
What makes group daycare centers different is that they provide child-care in a drop-off, non-residential facility, often for the whole day. Some Peterson Park daycare centers also offer child-care on an hourly basis. However, the vast majority provide either full- or half-day care services that consist of naps, meals, activities, learning, and maybe outings.
If you have an older child, a full-service facility that offers comprehensive social development opportunities and more structured learning activities may be your safest bet. While some daycare centers arrange hour-by-hour payment plans, most have monthly fees that can vary greatly depending on the services offered, location, and length of care.
Family daycare: Also referred to as in-home daycare, this is residential daycare in which providers look after children in their own homes. Because child-care is offered in someone else’s house or apartment, most family daycares are nestled in the heart of Peterson Park communities and often take in fewer kids. This makes most parents and their children feel safer and more comfortable, not to mention they are often cheaper and more convenient.
Of course, family daycare facilities don’t offer much in the way of diversified services. You’ll find that most of them provide barely anything beyond group babysitting. That’s why you need to do due diligence to not only see to it that a potential family daycare provider offers much more than plain babysitting.
Illinois licensing regulations call for state-licensed in-home daycares to offer developmentally appropriate and age-appropriate activities for the kids. The state also requires providers and their assistants to go through some training. Remember, not all family daycare providers are required to be licensed, so it always pays to ensure it is state-licensed and located in a safe neighborhood near your home.
What’s more, in-home daycares usually don’t do much advertising, so you can find them on websites like Cool Things Chicago, by word-of-mouth, and by seeking recommendations from family, friends, and trusted colleagues. While researching your options, we also recommend that you use lists from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
How Does a Daycare Affect My Child’s Development?
To enroll or not to enroll your kid in daycare — that’s the big question every parent must wrestle with at some point. But this is one decision that you don’t have to agonize over. Studies have shown that daycare offers an excellent environment for a child’s social, mental, and psychological development. How so?
One highly-quoted study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health found that kids who attend good daycare centers for 1 year or more have a lower rate of issues related to attention, relationship, conduct, and emotional later in life compared to their peers cared for at home. It concluded that interactions with other children and adult staff, along with having to adhere to rules at the daycare, provide a supportive environment that boosts behavioral and social development.
Here are other ways daycare impacts your kid’s development.
Quality time with other kids: Smart parents know a thing or two about the importance of arranging playdates for their little ones. The best Peterson Park daycare gives your tot an opportunity to interact with peers in a safe, structured, and supervised environment. In this way, your child learns how to share, solve problems, and of course, and play amicably with others. This is particularly beneficial for their growing minds and emerging personalities.
Foundation for academic excellence: A comprehensive research by the US National Institute of Health revealed that teens that went to daycare in their early lives had high academic achievement and cognitive abilities.
Structured activities: While young kids may not realize the importance of time, structured tasks at the daycare like storytelling, napping, singing, eating, playing, and much more can help with brain development and growth.
Constant adult supervision and interaction: Most young children learn about adults from senior family members, notably their parents. Daycare centers offer an opportunity for your child to see other adults as role models and mentors who can provide positive guidance.
Is Peterson Park a Good Neighborhood for My Child?
Peterson Park is a vibrant neighborhood that’s great for work, play, and raising a family. This family-forward community boasts well-lit streets, walkable sidewalks, and tree-lined boulevards, plus children can play outside thanks to expansive private home backyards and well-equipped community playgrounds.
While the best-selling feature is the Pehr Samuel (Peterson) Park itself, the Peterson Park community is among the safest neighborhoods in Chicago, IL. In addition, Peterson Park daycare centers are known for their robust programs, trained staff, and they come in a vast variety.
There’s also a solid choice of schools, including Jamieson Elementary School, Mather High School, and Hope College Prep High School. There are also multiple highly-rated academic centers in the vicinity. The neighborhood is located just a 34-minute drive from Downtown Chicago, providing access to all the goodies the metropolis has to offer.
How Can I Pick a Great Daycare in Peterson Park?
Are you considering a daycare in Peterson Park? Will you require full-time placement or part-time assistance? Below you’ll find tips and factors to keep in mind when selecting the right Peterson Park daycare.
– Group daycare centers vs. Family, in-home daycare
Your choice will often come down to these two options. Do you want your child to attend a larger daycare center or a smaller, home-based facility? Let’s look at the pros and cons of each option; you can determine which one best matches your needs.
Option 1: In-home daycare
As we’ve mentioned, family daycare centers are early childhood education facilities where a caregiver looks after kids in the provider’s own home, often with the aid of an assistant.
Option 2: Group daycare centers
If it takes a village to raise a child, then a group daycare center is the closest you can get. These are non-residential drop-off facilities that are staffed by several caregivers and teachers. Daycare center providers are required by the state of Illinois to acquire some training in early childhood education.
– Follow your instincts
When it comes to parenting, it’s always wise to trust your gut. Listen to that little bird telling you something is not quite right in a particular center. You may not be impressed by a daycare every mom in the neighborhood seems to be raving about. That’s fine; keeping searching until you find what you feel is the right place for your little one.
– Do your homework and get recommendations
Peterson Park daycare centers vary greatly in terms of programs, fees, location, and services. Make sure to get recommendations from other like-minded parents among friends, family, and at work. You can even get quality references from your pediatrician, friends from mommy-and-me classes, or OB-GYN.
– Continuity is important for your child
Kids, especially babies and toddlers, crave predictable and consistent care. This is important in building a secure bond between the child and their caregivers. If you’re considering a family daycare, make sure to ask for a commitment. In other words, ask the provider if they are willing to make a commitment to the caregiving job for at least six months or 1 year.
If you are looking for a traditional daycare center, inquire how long the current staff has been around. Also, don’t forget to ask how many changes the center has made, including their caregiver turnover rate.
– Check how caregivers interact with children on the floor
It’s important to visit a daycare you’re probing for your tot. At the potential site, focus your visit on how the teachers and caregivers interact with kids. In an ideal daycare, they should be on the floor interacting with the children, preferably with one child on the caregiver’s lap.
This shouldn’t come as a shock to most moms. Babies require loving, close interactive relationships with adults in their formative years. For this reason, their first caregiver should be responsive, loving, and warm. As such, make sure each child in the group gets enough one-on-one time with the caregiver, and this may boil down to the teacher-child ratio.
– Check out the daycare’s policies
Do a policy to ensure you’re on the same page with the daycare on key subjects like feeding time, napping/sleeping, TV/screen time, guidance/discipline, and so forth. What about their sick child’s policy, if it’s there at all? What symptoms will have the child stay at home?
What happens if the primary provider is out sick — do they have a backup plan? The best daycares in Peterson Park have well-defined and documented policies on a variety of issues.
– Communication, communication, communication
You have to rely on the caregiver to keep tabs on the goings-on of your child. That’s why reliable Peterson Park daycares give parents a written rundown of their kid’s day. Even if that isn’t on the table, be sure you can communicate easily and comfortably with the providers.
What Do Daycare Teachers Do?
Daycare teachers have one of the most eclectic job descriptions. At the very least, they provide fundamental child-care services that include changing diapers, grooming, feeding, calming down kids, and playing with them. They also use a wide range of learning tools like drawings, games, toys, songs, and storytelling to intellectually stimulate kids.
Depending on the daycare, they may be responsible for providing a sanitary, safe, and comfortable environment for the children. They stay in touch with the parents and provide regular updates on their kid’s progress. Most daycare teachers also instill positive behaviors and use age-appropriate, parent-approved methods to address discipline issues.
The daycare teacher is also responsible for the safety of the children, as well as making sure they have enough playtime, physical activity, and rest. On top of that, she should also watch out for any developmental, social, emotional, or behavioral problems. Obviously, teachers and providers must work together to create schedules, routines, and programs for the daycare.
Outside of the caregiving bubble, the teacher may also attend relevant workshops, seminars, conferences, and staff meetings.
How Expensive Is a Daycare in Peterson Park?
The weekly fee varies greatly depending on the location and type of the daycare. You should expect to shell out around $199 per week at an in-home daycare for a kid under the age of 2 years. A traditional non-residential daycare center charges an average of $202.50 per week for a child in the same age group.
Cost naturally comes down as the age of the child goes up. If you have a 2-year-old, the weekly rate dips to $171 per child. For kids aged 3 years and above, the price dips even further to $142 per week. Most Peterson Park daycare centers offer deeply-discounted rates for families that bring two or more siblings to the facility.
Do Daycare Providers Need to Be Licensed?
Yes. All daycare providers who care for three or more children in Peterson Park must obtain two kinds of licenses: one from the City of Chicago and the other from the State of Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Home-based (family) daycare providers don’t have to obtain a city license; still, they’ll have to be licensed by the state of Illinois.
Daycare providers who plan to offer child-care services between 9 pm and 6 am should get a Night Care Privilege License from the City of Chicago. This will be required on top of the standard city license.