How to Find the Right Child-Care Facility
A placement agency is a service company that matches the skills and qualifications of nannies with the needs of families looking for in-home child-care. The agency charges a fee to locate and screen nannies for you to consider hiring for your family. A reputable agency carefully will consider your needs and preferences when helping you find a suitable candidate. Placement fees range from $800 to $5,000 and should include a provision to replace the nanny or refund a portion of the fee if the placement does not work out within a certain period of time.

As part of its screening process, the agency should verify the nanny candidate’s personal and employment references and previous child-care experience. Many agencies also take nanny fingerprints, check for a criminal records, check the driving records and require a blood test, TB test and/or request a doctor’s statement that the candidate is in good health and free of contagious diseases. Some agencies also require psychological testing or evaluation. In the United States, the agency should verify that the candidate is an American citizen or is eligible to work legally in the country.

Just as the agency will want to ensure that nannies referred to you are suitable candidates, for the nanny’s protection, the agency also may ask you for references. Most agencies will assist you in preparing a job description that summarizes your family’s job duties, compensation package and other important considerations.

Many placement-agency owners are members of INA, which suggests that you select an INA member if you decide to use a placement agency’s services to help you locate a nanny.

According to the most recent data from the Clark County School District, there are more than 11,000 full-day kindergarten students enrolled in their schools. The results from a full-day/extended-day longitudinal kindergarten study indicated that full-day kindergarten contributed to closing the achievement gap.

Full-day kindergarten is not expressly required or prohibited by statute in Nevada. Districts may offer full-day kindergarten, but children are not required to attend. Nevada provides the same level of funding for both half-day and full-day kindergarten. The state does not define the minimum number of hours for full-day kindergarten, and it provides less funding for half-day and full-day kindergarten than for Grades 1–12. For more information on early childhood programs, visit the Nevada Department of Education at

When choosing a preschool program for your child, it’s important to consider characteristics of your child, the program, the preschool staff and the program’s physical environment. Following are a few guidelines from NAEYC.

— Characteristics of the Child
Some children are more comfortable in large groups than others and will do well in large programs. On the other hand, if your child takes a long time to warm up in a crowd, you may want to look for a small-scale preschool program. If your child seems especially fond of vigorous physical activities and outdoor play, you may want to ensure that the preschool provides good outdoor space and equipment.

— Characteristics of the Program
It is always a good idea to make preliminary visits to as many preschool programs as possible before making a choice. The friendliness among the staff and the children usually indicates that climate in the program is good. Children in a good program usually are not distracted by visitors and continue to be absorbed in their work and play. Give yourself time to get a feeling of the general atmosphere of the classroom and the extent to which children appear comfortable and involved.

Questions you can ask about components of the program include the following:
  • Does the program have a clear written statement of its goals and philosophy?
  • Do the goals address all areas of child development, including social, emotional, intellectual and physical?
  • Does the program offer a balance of individual, small- and large-group activities?
  • Does it offer a balance of spontaneous play and teacher-guided activities?
  • Are children provided with regular opportunities for outdoor play?
  • Do the provided activities encourage self-expression; allow for the development of various fine and large motor skills; and expose the children to literature, language experiences, music, art, science and nature?
  • Does the program encourage and respond to children’s spontaneous interests in the beginnings of reading, writing and counting?
  • Does the staff solicit and follow up on children’s interests in the world around them?
  • Does the content and materials of the program reflect cultural diversity and nonsexist attitudes?
  • Is there a balance among small-group activities, rest and quiet periods and vigorous outdoor activities?

— Characteristics of the Staff
Following are questions to ask about the program staff:
  • Are the teachers trained in early childhood education?
  • Does the director have experience as a teacher?
  • Does the ratio of adults to children comply with state requirements?
  • Has the staff been stable for the past few years?
  • Does the staff welcome parents as visitors and participants and respect parents’ preferences and ideas?
  • In their interactions with children, do the teachers express warmth, interest and respect for each child?
  • Are the teachers engaged with the children most of the time?

— Characteristics of the Physical Environment
Questions to ask about the physical setting include the following:
  • Is there an attractive and spacious outdoor area for safe and vigorous outdoor play and activity?
  • Is there a sufficient supply of equipment for the size of the group?
  • Are the children always supervised when outdoors?
  • Are the snacks and meals of sufficient nutritional quality?
  • Do the classrooms contain a variety of spaces so children can find small quiet areas when needed?

Studies suggest that preschool settings are more likely to offer high-quality programs when the total number of children is small enough to allow staff to know all the children and their families. Whenever possible, it is helpful to speak to other parents served by the program about their experience and recommendations.

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