Choosing a preschool or after-school program: 

It's not for the faint of heart

Whether you need to enroll your child in a preschool or after-school program because of a work schedule, you want your child to have additional interaction with other children, or any other reason, it’s not an easy decision.  There are many options for Fort Wayne day care.

Let’s face it – we all want to do what’s best for our children.  And sometimes, what we need to do or want to do for ourselves can feel like its rubbing up against that desire.

I learned one thing when my now-adult daughter was a toddler:  all parents have to make choices.  There are few right or wrong choices, just different.  I wasn’t “bad” because I chose to continue in my career after she was born, and my friend wasn’t “unmotivated” because she temporarily halted her professional life to stay at home.  We both made choices, and we both gained because of those choices – and we both lost something, too.

Choosing a supplemental caregiver from amongst the Fort Wayne day care choices is challenging because the consequences are so high.  We all worry about making a mistake that has negative consequences on our child.  But knowing what matters – and sticking to that – can make the difference between a successful arrangement for you and your child with a Fort Wayne child care, and one that adds to the stress of daily life.

Here are three things to consider when making your selection; this isn’t an exhaustive list, but rather a place to begin.

Location

How far are you willing to drive for Fort Wayne day care with a preschool or after-school facility?  Will your child be with children he or she knows from school, church or the neighborhood, or will he or she have to make another set of friends?  Does the program pick up at your child’s school (or the school he or she will be attending)?  Can you get to the location reasonably quick if your child gets sick or hurt?

Location should never be the sole deciding factor, but you want to consider it carefully.  Moving your child from one Fort Wayne day care facility to another can be stressful – for both of you – so choosing a location that fits your lifestyle is important.

Qualifications

Who will be with your child during the day?  Is this someone you trust?  Does your child seem to warm up to him or her? 

Don’t just look at the teacher or aids in your child’s classroom.  People move on, and the teacher you love may not be at the Fort Wayne day care center next month – there are no guarantees.  So get to know as many of the staff as possible.  Are the qualities that you want visibly present in all of them?  Are you comfortable with the director, the aides, the teachers, the interns, activity leaders, and anyone else who will interact with your child?

Ask about the center’s requirements for hiring.  What kind of background checks are done, and what is the minimum educational requirements?  This can vary at Fort Wayne day care choices.  For example, at Carepointe Academy, all of our staff have passed national background check certifications (which goes far beyond the standard of just passing an Indiana background check).  This means that they pass the background check of all 50 states, so you will have additional assurance and peace-of-mind. 

Fun factor

Children know how to push the right buttons to cause Mom guilt or make Dad feel like he’s failing.  So if you choose a preschool or after-school facility that your child enjoys, he or she will be much less likely to engage in that “button pushing.” 

For older children, finishing homework will be important, but after that, what kinds of activities will your child participate in?  If he or she enjoys active sports, a facility that offers video games may not be very “fun.”  On the other hand, if your child doesn’t enjoy organized team sports, having to be on the soccer team may be pure torture. Fort Wayne day care choices offer many different types of programs.

Atmosphere

While a site visit is important, along with a meeting with the Fort Wayne day care center staff, one preplanned visit may not give you a true picture of the atmosphere of a center.  Try to visit three times, at different times of the day.  Look at what activities the children are engaged in, the cleanliness of the facility at that time, the student to teacher ratio, and the response of the children.  Do they seem to be having a good time, or longingly looking at the door, wishing you were there to pick them up?

Of course, all children have a bad day from time to time, so don’t overreact if you see one unhappy child.  You’re looking for a peaceful but energetic facility full of children who are engaged in a variety of activities.  And finding that will make your experience with Fort Wayne day care positive – for you and for your child.

Questions?  Feel free to give us a call and we’ll be glad to tell you why we are proud of Carepointe Academy and what makes our program great!

 

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WANT TO RECLAIM YOUR EVENINGS AND WEEKENDS?

Let’s face it – whether you work outside the home, use the services of Fort Wayne preschools, or are at home with your child, there is always too much to do at the end of the day.  So, the evenings (especially after the children are in bed) and the weekends become times of catching up – and wearing out. 

Even the best mom or dad can get so caught up in the to-do list that honoring commitments to a child or carving out time for special surprise activities can suffer.  Even with the help of Fort Wayne preschools, this can be a tough challenge. 

 So what’s a busy parent to do?

Enlist your child’s help 

For years, I’ve used a series of colored laundry baskets so laundry is sorted from the start.  Blue jeans go in the blue basket, whites and delicates in the white basket, colorful clothes in the pastel basket. . . .  Even a preschooler can be taught to sort his or her clothes – and best of all, it doesn’t feel like a chore.  Not only is your laundry sorted, but it’s easy to tell when the load is big enough to wash by eyeing the contents of the basket.  

At Fort Wayne preschools, children have regular chores.  And they should have them at home, too!  What are things your child can do to help you with your chores?  How can you make them easier – perhaps even fun?  Add your ideas to the “comments” below, and help your fellow warriors in the challenge we call “Parenting” win another battle!

Before going to bed, organize the next day’s chores.

 Whether you are a list maker or a pile-upper, go through everything on your counter, desk, or wherever your “pending” work is right before you go to bed.  How will you maximize the time your child spends at one of our Fort Wayne preschools, if that’s part of your schedule?  Prioritize what needs to be done, and put some of the quick things on top.  That way, when you tackle your chores the next day, you can accomplish something right away, and you won’t waste time doing something that isn’t as important as another task that has a deadline. 

Looking ahead and having a plan of attack can also help because the next day, you may think about something that needs doing – and come up with an easier way to accomplish it.  This is an important lesson we’ve learned at Fort Wayne preschools – and we know it works at home, too!

 

Cut yourself – and your children – some slack. 

Perfectionism – it seems everyone has accomplished it except you.  We look around Fort Wayne preschools and everyone else seems so “together”!  But let’s get real; if you probed deep enough, you’d probably find that even your most perfect friend or family member has the hidden drawer or closet (maybe even a room!) that is a better reflection of reality.  The “face” we put on – on ourselves, our children and our house – may, like a façade, crumble in the storms of life. 

Practice shrugging things off and not beating yourself up when you don’t achieve perfection.  Even with the help of our Fort Wayne preschools, you will always have more “to do” left at the end of a day.  Decide when “good enough” is good enough.  And then don’t apologize – after all, if someone is “grading” you by your ability to control dust, do you really want to spend time with that person?

 When my mom was teaching me to sew, she said, “When you break two needles, it’s time to stop for the night.”   I’ve had to learn that in every situation, there is an equivalent of breaking two needles.  When I get to that point, I stop.  Mom was right (again).

 

Remember, you are constantly teaching your children – not just when you formally teach. 

At Fort Wayne preschools like Carepointe Academy, we intersperse education throughout the day.  After all, children are unique.  Some are more open to learning in the morning and others take longer to “seize the day.”  And that’s true for adults, too.  For example, if I am hungry, forget it!  I am crabby and can’t focus.  Ignoring that need so I can learn something or finish a task is a recipe for failure.  

 So use moments at play, in the grocery store or in the car to teach.  There is so much to learn outside Fort Wayne preschools – just from life!  I remember learning to spell by looking at street signs along a route my mom and I frequently took when she drove me to school.  My grandpa helped me learn to pound a nail so I could make a special centerpiece for my mom, and my dad used to stop whatever he was doing and watch a silly TV show with me every Tuesday night just because it made me happy.  Now that they’re all gone, those are the memories I keep – the time they spent teaching me without me knowing I was learning. 

So reclaim your nights and weekends and make them memorable for your children – and for you.  It’s not about who does the most or travelled the furthest.  It’s really about who made “home” a place where perfection gave way to love.

 

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Naptime, Anyone?

Finding day cares in Fort Wayne isn’t difficult – but finding great day cares in Fort Wayne may seem impossible!  There are many options for day cares in Fort Wayne, but when it comes to placing your child in a program, you want more than location.  “Location” may be terrific for selling real estate, but it can only go so far when you’re selecting one of the day cares in Fort Wayne.

You’ll want to consider the needs of your child, of course.  Some day cares in Fort Wayne focus more on one aspect of programming while others have a different emphasis.  What does your child enjoy?  Does he or she like to read quietly or engage in an activity?  Does he like crafts, or does she like music?  Day cares in Fort Wayne have different points of emphasis, so you’ll want to look for the one that aligns with your child’s needs and interests.

At Carepointe Academy, one of your options for day cares in Fort Wayne, we know it’s not a matter of choosing between childcare and education.  Today's parent wants to provide a child with great care AND a strong preparatory education . . . at the same time.  That’s why our programs offer a wide variety of activities for children to choose from, at a pace that fits them best.

A few days ago, I was talking to a mother of a first-grade student.  He was so excited about starting to “all day school,” but was exhausted after just a few days.  She was hoping he didn’t fall asleep on Friday afternoon!

Be sure to look carefully at day cares in Fort Wayne and select one that is sensitive to the needs of your child.  In the case of my friend, she would want a program that allowed some “down time,” so her son could rebuild his energy.  A quiet place to nap might be the best thing for him right now as he adjusts to this new routine in his life.

You’ll want to be sure to ask day cares in Fort Wayne how flexible their programs are.  Do all the children do the same thing at the same time, or are there enough staff members that children have options?  

At Carepointe Academy, we know “teachable moments” aren’t always a matter of programming.  What sets us apart from other day cares in Fort Wayne is that our teachers focus on identifying teachable moments as well as creating them through our curriculum.  We call this our “teach throughout the day” approach.  

An advantage of this is that our academy is family friendly.  Instead of a fixed start-time and end-time, you can bring your child at the time that is most convenient for you (or your work schedule).  Your child will be able to join whatever learning activity is currently being explored, without feeling he or she missed out on something.

We are fortunate to have many day cares in Fort Wayne.  And at Carepointe Academy, we believe we are fortunate to be able to have a special role in the lives of our students – and in their parents’ lives, too.  We understand how tough it is to balance “life.”  Sometimes things happen that can really mess up even the best laid plans.  

So when your child is part of Carepointe Academy, you can be assured that he or she is being cared for at one of the top day cares in Fort Wayne.  We’re flexible, because we know the last thing you need is another deadline looming!  

As you are looking at day cares in Fort Wayne, we invite you to come check us out at Carepointe Academy.  We’d love to show you – and your child – around our school.  We’re passionate about giving children a wonderful day care experience, and we’re excited to share our enthusiasm with you.  Give us a call!

Quote for the day:

“Education is not filling a pail but the lighting of a fire.” William Butler Yeats, Irish poet and playwright