Quality child care is a blend of art and science. The art of child care is the ability to respond to the child-and to a group of children-in the moment, in a way that will support development. Today's children are in center based care younger and longer than ever before. The learner will lay the foundation for what it takes to begin a quality child care center in this paper. The learner will go through the steps or actions that need to take place before one opens a new child care facility, such as marketing, and demographics. The learner then will discuss the aspects of quality child care, and how it can be implemented to the benefit of the children, families, and employees.
Quality child care is a blend of art and science. The science of child care encompasses knowledge of health and safety, developmental stages in the first years of life, and the temperament and other individual differences. The art of child care is the ability to respond to the child-and to a group of children-in the moment, in a way that will support development (Lally, 1995). Lally, (1995) suggest there are seven "gifts that a good child care program offers young children, nurturance, support, security, predictability, focus, encouragement and expansion. When all of these "gifts are present in a child care facility the program will then be providing quality child care. What can be done to insure that young children are getting the very best care? Data from the Cost, Quality, and Outcomes study (Cost, Quality, and Outcomes Study Team, 1995) suggest that several structural characteristics of care settings are associated with quality in early childhood programs. These characteristics include the level of teacher education and specialized training, teacher wages, child-to-teacher ratios, teacher turnover, and administrator's prior experience.
Children today as young as three weeks of age are being placed in child care centers throughout the country. Gr