Home daycares can be a wonderful choice for people looking for a smaller setting for their child. There is sometimes a misconception that these child care programs aren't as safe or well-managed or that they do not have to follow the same regulations as larger child care centers. None of that is true.
In-home daycares are required to adhere to stringent guidelines and rules and are visited regularly by government inspectors. Teachers and caregivers in these family child care programs are often parents themselves, and have many years of early childhood education experience. However, in such programs, child care providers may not always be required to hold the same types of degrees that one might be expected to have at a larger daycare center or preschool and the educational curriculum might not always be as structured and rich as in larger daycare centers or preschools (this varies a lot, of course.).
In-home daycares are typically composed of one classroom with one or two teachers. Of course, no home is built quite like a child care center but there are many laws and codes ensuring that a home daycare is suitable for young children. There are state laws about the square footage for the classroom as well as the outdoor space. State or county inspectors will also come and evaluate the home regularly to ensure that it is up to code, that the equipment is appropriate, and that the proper safety procedures are in place. Exact regulations and requirements vary from state to state.
Since there is usually only one classroom, children are typically all together and not separated into age groups or "grades", as is common in larger child care centers or preschools. This provides little ones the opportunity to learn to engage with a wider variety of other children and to be flexible in their social skills. Small infants and toddlers will learn a great deal from older classmates and older children can learn to have responsibilities with younger kids.
In addition, home-based daycares are usually less expensive than larger centers. The tuition rates are lower because the overhead costs tend to be lower for the owner. However, the lower tuition rate in no way indicates lesser care or lackluster early childhood education. A home daycare is a wonderful place for children who need more one-on-one attention or who are overwhelmed in larger settings. Another advantage of in-home daycares is that family child care providers are usually more flexible and able to accommodate to your needs (e.g. a more flexible vacation policy, more likely to allow for a flexible pick-up time, etc.)
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