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This is the care of children especially by a créche, nursery or childminder while parents are working.


Types of Child Care Programs:

  • Child care
  • daycare, preschool
  • preK, in-home
  • center-based
  • Montessori
  • Reggio
  • play-based
  • nanny-share
  • micro-school

How’s a person to decide what type of child care program or child care provider is best?

Whether you’re a parent looking for care or someone interested in starting your own program, check out our list for an overview of each!



1.Family Child Care Programs

These are also commonly known as in-home programs, family daycare, group daycare, early learning microschools.

In family child care programs, a provider, and sometimes their assistants, care for a small group of children in their home. Family child care programs are smaller and more intimate than child care centers, and there are many known benefits for these types of programs. Each state has its own licensing procedure and requirements for family child carers.

2. Microschools

A relatively new and innovative concept, these are sometimes called a micro-school, nanoschool, pandemic pod, trust circle, or simply homeschooling or a homeschool.

A microschool is similar to an in-home child care program, often referred to as “family child care,” and carries many of the same benefits of an FCC program. Micro-schooling is essentially the reinvention of the one-room schoolhouse, where class size is smaller (anywhere from 4-15 students) and there are mixed-age groupings. By nature of their size, micro-schools can offer a lot more variety for families, both in schedule and in curriculum and instruction. Some integrate technology, blended learning, or a flipped classroom, while others engage in project-based learning.

3. Forest Schools

A case of “what it says on the tin”, these are sometimes known as outdoor schools, nature preschools, or forest kindergartens.

Forest schools are play based, child-led programs that take place exclusively outside. Outside environments could include a park, a beach, or other areas where children can run, climb, play, and explore. They are similar to in-home programs in that the group size is small and the instructor-to-child ratio is low. Typically, a child needs to be a stable walker in order to attend a forest school program without a parent attending with them, meaning they work best for children ages 2 and up.

4. Child Care Centers

Probably the best known option, these are also called simply daycare centers, preschools, or pre-kindergarten/pre-k.

A child care center is often thought of as the traditional form of early childhood education. The center is usually located in a specialized facility and offers part or full day schedules of activities and education for infants as young as 6 weeks old. Centers are licensed and must meet government safety and staff regulations.

5. Nannies

Another term for just one-on-one care or an in-home caregiver.

A nanny is a person who either lives in your home or comes to your home during the day to care for your child. Sometimes, two families will share a nanny in one of their homes, in what is most commonly referred to as a “nanny-share.” This child care option is typically more expensive than child care centers or family child care homes due to the 1:1 care.

6. Au Pair

Au pairs are similar to nannies, but are usually between the ages of 18 and 26 and usually come from another country to learn or practice a new language. They almost always live in your home, and they can care for children for up to 45 hours a week. They usually stay only one year but can stay for up to two.


1.High-quality child care keeps children safe and healthy. In addition, it helps children develop skills they will need for success in school and in their lives outside of school.

2.Social, emotional and communication skills Pre-literacy and basic mathematical skills and concepts.

An awareness of their environment and the roles of the people in it.

What Every Child Needs:

In an era of aggressive marketing toward kids and parents alike, many parents wonder what kids actually need. Turns out, there’s a pretty clear answer.

“Years of research in child development have identified eight essential requirements for kids to become happy, successful adults,” says Harley Rotbart, MD, a nationally-renowned parenting expert and vice chair emeritus of Pediatrics at Children’s Colorado. “And none of them involve high-tech gadgets, video games or fancy clothes.”

The eight things kids need to thrive:


Kids must feel safe and sound, with their basic survival needs met: shelter, food, clothing, medical care and protection from harm.


Stability comes from family and community. Ideally, a family remains together in a stable household, but when that’s not possible, it’s important to disrupt the child’s life as little as possible. Kids and families should be a part of larger units to give them a sense of belonging, tradition and cultural continuity.


No “good cop, bad cop.” Parents should synchronize their parenting and make sure important values stay consistent.

Emotional support

Parents’ words and actions should encourage kids’ trust, respect, self-esteem and, ultimately, independence.


Saying and showing you love your kids can overcome almost any parenting “mistakes” you might make. Even when your kids have disobeyed, angered, frustrated and rebelled against you, show them you love them and that you’ll always love them.


Make sure your kids get the best possible education for their future. This includes school, of course, but it also includes the invaluable life lessons you provide during the time you spend together.

Positive role models

Parents are their kids’ first and most important role models. Instill your values and teach children empathy by being the kind of person you want them to become.


Rules, boundaries, and limits: Without them, kids are forced to be adults before they are ready, and they lose respect for you and other adults.

The “miracle solution”: kids need time

Perhaps the most important factor of all is time. Without enough time to spend with kids and be a parent, “You miss out on the wonderful privileges of parenting,” Dr. Rotbart says. “And kids miss out on some of their needs.”

The converse is also true.

“Time is the miracle solution for most dilemmas of parenthood,” says Dr. Rotbart. “Taken in minutes or hours, the time you spend with your kids gives you the opportunity to provide your kids all their essential needs — and much more


1.Family Child Care Homes

In family child care homes, providers care for small groups of children in a residential building. Often this type of care has one or two caregivers and may offer non-traditional hours.

2.Child Care Centers

Child care centers often group children by age and are generally operated out of non-residential, commercial buildings. Centers are larger and enroll more children with a dedicated director and numerous staff members.

3.Preschool Programs

Preschool programs are typically offered for children ages 3-5 years old. Preschool programs may be offered through a school, faith-based organizations, non-profit organizations, and child care centers.

4.School-Age Programs

School-age programs typically provide child care during the before- and after-school hours. They may also offer care during school holidays and summer break.

5.Family, Friend, and Neighbor Care

Family, friend, and neighbor care is provided in the child or caregiver’s home by a person who is a relative, friend or neighbor, or a babysitter or nanny.

About This Type of Care

These programs typically are legally exempt from regulations and may not be required to meet health, safety, and training standards unless they care for children who receive government child care subsidies or vouchers.

The specific definition of family, friend, and neighbor care and the regulatory requirements depends on the number of children in care, whether or not the children are relatives, and the state in which you live.

Families may choose this type of care for several reasons:

Family, friend, and neighbor caregivers are someone you feel comfortable with and trust.

There may be more flexibility in hours and transportation with a family, friend, or neighbor provider.

This type of care often is the least expensive.

It is always important to ask your family, friend, and neighbor caregiver or check with your local Child Care Resource and Referral agency to check to see if they are required to be licensed.


If your caregiver is not required to be licensed, ask them if they have taken first aid and CPR training.

If infant care is needed, ask your caregiver if they have taken safe sleep training. If your caregiver has not taken the training, ask them to enroll.

Check with your local Child Care Resource and Referral agency for information on safe sleep training. Your infant should be put to sleep on his/her back in a designated space with no soft bedding, bumper pads, or stuffed animals.

Ask how your infant will be supervised at all times, but especially during naps.

Ask your caregiver about what type of meals are served to make sure your child is receiving nutritious meals and snacks throughout the day.

Consider performing a background check on your caregiver and other adults residing or visiting frequently if care is provided in their residence.

Ask the caregiver about the number of adults and children present (staff to child ratios).

Be sure to discuss and agree upon things like payment arrangements, holiday schedules, screen time and discipline.

Check to make sure the caregiver’s indoor and outdoor environment are safe and free of any hazards.

Additional Resource

Download our All in the Family brochure for tips on making Family, Friend, and Neighbor Care work for you.


Every child is different. Each little one is unique and special in his or her own way. If you’re a parent of multiple kiddos, you’ve probably noticed just how true this is.

There are so many little characteristics that combine to make us all different from the next person. And it’s what makes our world so diverse and full of life.

However, no matter how different your oldest child is from your youngest, they both have many of the same needs. In fact, the basic needs of a child are pretty much the same in most kids’ lives. Since you’re one of the main caregivers of your little ones, it’s important to both know what the basic needs of a child are and how you can make sure those needs are met.

Alright; let’s get to it!

What Are the Basic Needs of a Child?

Understanding and Meeting the Basic Needs of a ChildAlthough children may have varying needs, they all have a lot of common needs.

As a guardian or parent, you should know more about the basic needs of a child. With a better understanding of these things, you can make sure the kids in your care are getting everything they need in order to have a healthy and happy childhood!

Take a look at these basic needs:

  1. Food
  2. Water
  3. Shelter
  4. Education
  5. Consistency
  6. Structure
  7. Guidance

Meeting the needs of your little ones can certainly contribute to their child growth and development in many different ways.

The Importance of Meeting These Needs

Again, each child has these basic needs. But what makes these specific needs so important? Why are these basic needs of a child so critical?

Well, each one of us has physical needs, including food, water, and a place to live. Without these things, children can’t properly grow and mature physically.

So, it’s absolutely necessary to make sure children eat nutritious and healthy meals on a regular basis and get enough water to drink.

This can help to ensure that your little ones are getting the right amount of nutrients in order to grow and develop on a physical level. Of course, shelter is a definite necessity, as well.

Structure and guidance are also big parts of your child’s development. When they are able to have consistency and structure in their lives, they get the chance to develop a routine.

 Having a healthy routine is really important for kids (and adults, too!). Routines can include specific times for bed and waking up, meals, school, play, homework, and so forth. Of course, these shouldn’t be rigid, inflexible rules and regulations.

But, when your children are on a routine, it can help them in various ways. For one, it can help your little ones to gain a sense of independence.

They will be more used to waking up or going to bed on time. So, they may be more apt to get themselves dressed in the morning or excited to help you prepare a snack at meal time!

Guidance is also one of the basic needs of a child. Kids don’t need bossy parents or demanding teachers. They need adults who give them loving guidance. Children need their parents and guardians’ help to learn more about the world around them, how to interact with others, and accomplish their goals.

What Is Child Development?

Young Parents and Daughter Walking on TrailChild development describes the changes children experience as they grow older. As children grow physically, they also develop in their knowledge, skills, and behavior.

Parents and other adults, such as grandparents and child care providers, play important roles in children’s development. As a parent, you are the most important teacher in your child’s life. You also know your child best. Learning more about how children grow and develop is one way to build on what you already know and get new ideas about how to support your child’s learning and well-being.

The following table shows some of the main areas of child development.

  • Area
  • Description
  • Cognitive
  • How children think, learn, understand, solve problems, and remember.
  • Language

How children learn to speak sounds, words, and sentences and use sign language and body language to communicate with others. This area also includes how children learn to understand these types of communication from others.

Social and emotional

Social development is how children learn to develop relationships and cooperate with family, friends, and teachers. Emotional development is how children learn to express, understand, and manage their own emotions, as well as respond to the emotions of others.


How children learn to move and use their muscles. This can be separated into large motor skills (such as using muscles to sit, stand, walk, run, keep balance, and change positions) and small motor skills (such as using hand muscles to eat, draw, dress, and write).

Approaches to Learning

How children are interested in learning and take part in learning activities. This also includes how they take the lead in activities and demonstrate confidence, curiosity, and creativity in interactions and play.

All these areas of development are connected. We should always think about the whole child. For example, once children learn to use words, it is much easier for them to express their emotions.

And once they begin to crawl, they begin to explore more and learn about other parts of the world around them.

Children develop at their own pace, so you never know exactly when your child will learn a new skill. Developmental milestones are skills that children often learn at a certain age. Developmental milestones give you an idea of the changes you can expect as your child gets older. It’s helpful to be familiar with these milestones, but remember that small variations are perfectly normal.

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