As Director of Alphabet Soup Child Care Center, I have been helping families make the important choice of finding the right child care, infant care and preschool education for their children since 1996. I have helped hundreds of families. Here is the advice I give them in a nutshell:
Start before you need it.
Quality child care options are tight. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a call from a family saying, “I need care for my toddler starting tomorrow…” It breaks my heart to tell them that we are usually booked months in advance. To avoid finding yourself in this situation, make sure you start looking for child care before you need it.
Call and Visit
The first impression you’ll get of your child’s school is via the phone, most likely. That’s why I, as the director, am never too busy to take or return the calls of prospective Alphabet Soup families and any of the hundreds of families that contact us from Ridgefield Park, NJ, Bogota, NJ, Little Ferry, NJ and the surrounding areas. You should listen for that warm and caring touch. The person on the other end of the phone should answer all your questions professionally, have all the information you need, and invite you to visit.
Once you’ve gotten a good feeling and the right information from your phone call, take some time to visit. Look around the child care facility. Only you know your child best. Does it have the kinds of toys your child loves? Do the teachers look friendly and welcoming?
Follow Your Instincts
A lot of people recommend checklists and lengthy interviews, and you are certainly entitled to use both if you feel you want to, but my best advice to families looking for daycare providers is to follow your instincts. You will get a good feeling about the place that is right for your child. We’ve heard from hundreds of parents that Alphabet Soup is the best child care center in Ridgefield Park (often after visiting several others in the area). Their # 1 reason? The feeling they got when they first came to visit.
Examine the choices, then decide! Once you do, introduce your child to the preschool in a fun, upbeat and low stress way. Visit several times if you have the time. Let your child build fun associations with the place. Then, prepare together for the big First Day! Your child care center staff can help you. Here at Alphabet Soup, we offer several key and effective suggestions to making your child’s transition into a new child care center as easy as possible.
The key to ongoing success in day care and preschool, be it for an infant, preschooler, kindergartener or school aged child is YOUR continued involvement. Ask how the day went. Although young children are notorious for not giving a lot of details, ask anyway. See how your child reacts. Talk to the preschool teachers and caregivers. Keeping the lines of communication open will help ensure that your child has a wonderful experience at the child care center you choose. We hope it’s ours!
Millie Andreu, Director of Alphabet Soup Child Care Center in Ridgefield Park, NJ, has been committed to the care and education of young children for 40 years. First as a mother to her two now-grown children, then as a kindergarten teacher’s assistant and later a preschool group teacher, she finally realized her dream of creating her own quality child care center in 1996. Hundreds of families have entrusted the care of their infants, toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners and school-aged children to Alphabet Soup since its inception.
Alphabet Soup Child Care Center
212 Main Street, Ridgefield Park, New Jersey 07660
201-296-0224 and 201-296-0022