Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Parenting Pointers: Finding Quality Child Care

So many studies have found that early childhood education makes a big difference in the lives of youngsters, we collectively consider it so important. Given that, you might expect that child care providers would be actively looking for teachers who are highly qualified. But new research shows something different.

Child care center directors were middling it with regard to teacher credentials. They tended to stay away from the least-qualified resumes in our pool. They also tended to stay away from the most-qualified resumes in our pool and, instead, went for the sort of middle-of-the-road qualifications.
 Story Link:

I had the chance to interview WindyCityNanny Florence Ann Romano to learn more.

Why do you think so many childcare centers aren't hiring the most qualified candidates?

There is a new word being applied to the process of selecting employees for childcare: "middling." Which means exactly as it sounds - childcare centers aren't looking for the MOST qualified or LEAST qualified - they are aiming for the middle. It's almost a Goldilocks vetting system - trying to find someone "just right."

The truth is, childcare is extremely expensive, and the more qualified the teacher, the more you will have to pay them (IE a bachelor degree versus a masters degree). This is most likely the subtext of these childcare studies.

What implications may this have on the quality of childcare?

Mediocrity is a funny word - in some cases, meeting the standards of a situation is perfectly acceptable; and in others, it's almost obtuse and blasphemous. The "middle" is always going to be different, and middle doesn't necessarily mean bad. It's going to depend on the pool of candidates from which you are selecting. For example, if all candidates are people who have a mix of bachelors degrees, masters degrees, and nanny experience, the middle is going to be defined differently by every evaluator, depending on their taste and budgetary concerns.

I don't believe there are negative implications associated with "middling." The only concern I have is how the employers are defining "middle." If that definition starts to become candidates whom have very little experience with children, then I would be wary of this vetting process for childcare.

What are the most essential qualities for the best possible child care?

The vetting process will always be THE most important step you'll take as a parent regarding whom you hire to care for your children. Whether that's a babysitter, a nanny or a daycare provider. You must ask yourself these questions:

1) What is their level of childcare experience? Beyond that, what level of education do I want them to have?

2) Are they trained in the skills necessary to care for the specific ages and needs of the child? (IE newborn CPR, toddler CPR, children with allergies, special needs children, etc)

3) What are the values of my family? What are the values of the nanny/babysitter/daycare provider? Do they align?

4) Check them out on social media! Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc. See you who they really are when they think you aren't looking.

What do you think is best way is to ensure these qualities and characteristics in our child-care and education system?

I am going to be very blunt and say that parents have gotten a bit lazy when it comes to vetting childcare. I understand that life is busy, and you want everything done yesterday.

However, the process of finding the right care for your child should be done with the same thoughtfulness and evaluation as if you were giving your savings account to a financial advisor to invest for retirement. You want to make sure you are picking the right person for the job; that 
has the right experience; and is properly on-boarded to your family and 
its dynamic.

This is not the time or the place to be frugal or lax. This is the moment to rise to the occasion, and give your most precious possessions another person to love them like their own!

Florence Ann Romano, The Windy City Nanny™(, is a dedicated philanthropist and former nanny who has always had a special place in her heart for children. Romano worked for over 15 years as a nanny, beginning as a 'Mommy's helper' at the age of 11. She shares her experiences in Nanny and Me (Mascot Books, May 2015),her beautifully illustrated debut book for children making the transition from being cared for solely by their parents to having a nanny in their home.
Born and raised just outside Chicago, Romano earned a degree in performance theatre at Bradley University in Peoria, IL. She is the owner of Trinity, LLC - a 100% woman owned and new family company that runs the Original Six Media production company. Romano also serves as President and Founder of a junior board for young professionals that supports Autism awareness for children and adults.

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