Choosing what kind of child care center to work at is an important decision, as there are many varieties. Understanding and weighing your options and knowing where your strengths and passions lie can help immensely with this important career decision.
There are many varieties of child care, including:
Each licensed child care center or home caters to children ranging from infant to school age. They are also licensed differently based on what service it is providing.
Inclusive Child Care
Federal law states that children with special needs have a right to an education. Inclusive child care includes children with and without special needs. As a teacher of all types of children, it is your responsibility to teach by example. By treating every child equally regardless of condition, you will teach children how to be accepting of others.
Working with children with special needs more often than not requires formal training. If you are not prepared or willing to work with children with special needs, this form of child care may not be for you.
Specialty Child Care
In specialty child care, you choose the focus of the program you decide to get involved in, whether you specialize with children of a certain age or children with disabilities.
If working with special needs children, you would be providing care in the forms of:
- Basic needs (feeding, hygiene, etc.)
Providing specialized services can be a boon to your community, especially if there is a significant number of parents who need it and they cannot get it elsewhere. On the other hand, while there may be parents who need your service, it may not be enough to justify the costs associated with starting your own day care. Assessing your community’s needs can help you determine what kind of specialized child care service is needed and wanted.
Family Child Care
Family child care is given in the caregiver’s home, often with children of different ages at the same time. Family care often includes both special needs and normally developed children. Family child care helps children:
- Prepare for school
- Learn naturally through independent learning
- Learn how to work with others of different ages.
There are also two different types of family child care: small and large. Small family care means that you are the only caregiver to a small group of children. Large means that you and an assistant care for a bigger number of children, usually 7 to 12 at a time.
The Drawbacks of Family Child Care
Parents want what is best for their child. Less stringent licensing regulations or lack of formal educational training in early childhood education may make parents wary of your service. In addition if you get sick, there are often no other staffers to step in for you. Some states have staff-child ratio requirements based on the ages of the children present.
Lastly, if starting your own child care in your home, you must shoulder many legal and financial burdens like licensing. Are you able to meet these demands and is it a financially sound option for you? If not, working under the employment of a child care center may be the wiser choice.
Montessori Child Care
Montessori child care centers are largely private institutions. At Montessori schools, children are separated and taught based on developmental stages. Children learn and grow at different rates. As a result, are moved on to the next level of learning when they have mastered the required skill sets of their current level.
Montessori child care accepts children with and without special needs. Like inclusive care, this allows children to learn how to accept and get along with others. For special needs children, this allows them to learn in a pressure- free environment.
Choosing a Child Care Center That is Right for You
When deciding which kind of child care to work in, there are several important questions to ask yourself:
- Do I want to work from home, or in the home of another?
- Do I prefer working for myself or for a center?
- Am I comfortable working with children with disabilities?-
- Would I prefer to work at a child care center or at home?
Inclusive, family, and specialty child care gives you the option to teach and care for children in either your own home, or the home of the client. On the other hand, Montessori requires that you teach at a Montessori accredited center. This location allows you to:
- Have a set schedule
- Take sick or vacation days
- Have a steady income
- Separate your home life from your work life
By choosing to work at a child care center, you do not have to set your schedule around the parents. So if you get sick or want to take a vacation day, parents are not left in the lurch when you are not present. There is someone to step in for you if need be. This can take a lot of stress off of your mind.
Finally, by working at a child care center, you have a steadier income. If working out of your home, there is the chance that a majority of your clients will cancel or decide they no longer need your service, so you lose potential income. In a child care center, if someone leaves, there will always be someone else to take their place.