When you are exploring daycare options in South Riding, the possibilities available can become overwhelming. In order to narrow down the selection, it is important to focus on providing what it is that your child needs most. Because your child will spend a substantial amount of time in daycare, you will want to look for four key elements regardless of the size of the daycare you are evaluating and whether or not it is public, private, church, or corporate-run.

The first element to look for at any daycare is the most obvious: love. More than any educational program, more than state-of-the-art playground equipment, more than expensive toys, your child needs a loving and nurturing environment in which to grow. A daycare that truly loves and cares about your child will be laying the basis for brain development because the brains of young children must feel safe and loved in order to continue to develop. When you visit a daycare watch how the teachers and students interact. Ask the director about teacher turnover (high turnover may indicate that it is not a happy place for teachers and happy teachers are more likely to be loving teachers). Look around and notice if the majority of people are smiling or not.

Next, find out about whether or not the daycare values unstructured play. Are dress-up areas available in the classrooms? What about plain blocks, art supplies, and play-do? Daycare centers that do not incorporate play into your child’s learning experiences are actually doing your child a disservice. Exploration and free play are absolutely essential to your child’s development and will be the main source of learning for a long time. Do not underestimate the value of play and the need for it in the daycare environment.

Third, you will want your daycare to take advantage of the developmental benefits of music. If the daycare does not incorporate music into daily activities, you will at least want to ensure that there is some sort of music enrichment available to your child at least once a week – but more often if possible. Children who are exposed to music throughout their early years routinely do better on all developmental indicators once they enter elementary school.

Finally, make sure that the daycare is not overly crowded. Your child needs space and lots of it because movement is important to the development of your child. Make sure that there is indoor space available when the weather does not permit outdoor play and sufficient outdoor space for running around when the weather is good.

Studies have shown that loving surroundings, the ability to play, exposure to music, and physical movement are some of the most necessary element for helping the brain to develop in ways that will led to success later in life. When searching for a daycare in South Riding, you may see lots of attractive features, but these four things are essential.

Visit Sparkles! The state-of-the-art daycare in South Riding and experience the multisensory educational activities that we will provide for your child – including music and indoor/outdoor play all in a loving and safe environment. We operate from a philosophy of love and respect for each child and each family. If you are in the South Riding area, visit us online today at www.sparkleschildcare.com or call us at 1.877.SPARKY6.

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