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What should quality child care look like?

May 16, 2016
Economics and FinanceOutcomesQuality and Curriculum
Shannon Nickinson
Pensacola News Journal

The man who is at the top of the state’s heap when it comes to early learning acknowledges the limitations when it comes to talking about what quality should look like. And how a parent can get guidance about how to make a good choice. “Quite candidly, it’s just as challenging as a state administrator,” says Rodney MacKinnon, executive director of the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning. “It’s a complicated issue that has a lot of underlying conflicts in it.” MacKinnon’s office offers a “quality checklist” they encourage parents to use when evaluating a child care center. It recommends visiting at least three centers before choosing one.

“A lot of the things are hard to quantify,” MacKinnon says. “If you walk into a center and the staff are happy, organized, they’re friendly with the parents, who along with the children, are the customer, they have an intentional lesson plan, these things speak to a passion for caring about the kids in a deliberative and intentional manner.