Important Reminder About Choosing a Daycare/Preschool

Dear PSP Members,

There have been a few situations in the past weeks that warrant us posting information that you should be aware of regarding Daycares and Preschools.

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CHECK THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH WEBSITE about violations on the daycares and preschools that you are considering (or to double check that your existing daycare is in compliance. The link for Brooklyn  (you can also call 311). You also can get a good understanding of family daycare regulations and research violations so you know if your child's facility isn't in compliance.   Keep in mind that much like at restaurants, inspectors are looking for even the smallest things to cite for. However, multiple violations and the type of violations (e.g., too few staff for the number of children) can signal situations that could be dangerous.

MAKE SURE THE DAYCARE/PRESCHOOL IS LICENSED because then you know that city screened the facility for fire safety, background checks, capacity restrictions and a host of other things. Look beyond organic goodies, bright paint and baby yoga because some of these places might seem okay, but may not have satisfied safety standards.

READ "PROTECTING THE GIFT" by Gavin de Becker. It lists the types of questions to ask potential nannies or facilities who'll be responsible for your kids (e.g., "how do you screen your employees?", do you do background checks?", "what are your procedures for trips?", etc.). It also outlines what to teach your children (e.g., ask a person with kids rather than someone who looks like a police officer). This book, along with the book "the Gift of Fear" (another great read) are focused on trusting your gut if you think something doesn't feel quite right about a situation. Ultimately, if you don't feel good about leaving your child in the care of a certain facility, you should find another one.

TALK TO OTHER PARENTS. It's good for getting another perspective, sharing perceptions and feedback, and is just a good idea to know the parents of the kids' your child is in daycare/preschool with on a regular basis. You can also read PSP member experiences of local dayscares/preschools on our website.

SPEAK UP IF SOMETHING DOESN'T SEEM RIGHT. It takes a village and we need to watch out for everyone's kids. If you see something and do say something, you're part of the solution and could save a life. Speak to the director of the school or if it's more serious, call 3-11 and report the situation. To see neglect or inappropriate behavior and not report it for any reason could lead to dire consequences.

Let's keep 'em safe,

Susan Fox

Park Slope Parents