child development center Blog

Physical Activity Linked to Better Academic Performance

Salt Lake City, Utah – In recent years as we’ve seen obesity rates in children skyrocket, we’ve seen a huge push to get children more physically active. But did you know that physical activity not only improves their health, it may just improve their academic lives, too?

“A Dutch study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found a positive link between physical activity and academic success,” says Amy Moyes, a Millcreek child care expert and owner of Learning Tree Schools. “Regular physical activity seems to be linked to better brain function. Exercise can increase the amount of endorphins a person creates, improving their mood as well as increasing the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain.”

Those factors seem to help children in their academic performance. Among the areas that seem to be affected by physical activity are concentration, memory, self-esteem and verbal skills.

In recent years, we have seen a huge emphasis placed on the value of student test scores, even so much that many schools have contemplated cutting physical education programs altogether and focusing that time instead solely on academics. But this study suggests that might be the wrong way to go about things.

“Physical fitness and academics can be incorporated together,” says Bethany Hosking, Moyes’ co-owner of the Murray preschool. “We operate programs that serve children from infant through school age, and academics are a priority, especially in our preschool and private kindergarten programs. But combining physical activity in learning activities provides a two-fold advantage – children will be healthier, while exercising their brain power at the same time.”

A program offered by the Medical University of South Carolina recently proved the effectiveness of combining physical activity with academics. They introduced 40 minutes of physical activity paired with a different learning component for each grade level. After the program was implemented, they were pleased to find that more children achieved their goal test scores on standardized tests.

“As more technology is introduced, we see our children becoming more and more sedentary,” says Moyes, whose day care program for older children offers a host of physical activities. “At our child day care center, we realize the importance of both academics and physical activity in the well-rounded child. We also recognize that it’s often up to the child care providers to encourage children to be active, so we strive to provide fun and educational ways children can exercise. Our programs incorporate critical thinking and creativity to help children exercise their brains and their bodies.”

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12 Years Later: No Child Left Behind

Salt Lake City, Utah – This year marks 12 years of former president George W. Bush’s signature education legislation, No Child Left Behind. Over a decade later, what has the controversial legislation accomplished?

“While the ultimate goal of No Child Left Behind might have been a noble one, it will forever be tied to the political backlash it received,” says Utah preschool expert Amy Moyes. “I think everyone involved in education would love to see children performing at the best of their abilities. But how we measure that is something that will probably be debated forever. The simple fact is, there may not be a one size fits all solution to grading our schools, because each individual school has its own unique set of challenges that make it totally different from the school across town.”

The goal of NCLB was to encourage schools to meet Annual Yearly Progress benchmarks in both math and reading. In 2011, almost 50 percent of American schools failed to meet the benchmarks. One argument many had in the wake of this was that schools were judged each year on the percentage of students who met those benchmarks, rather than looking at their year-to-year improvement.

The ultimate goal of NCLB was to close the achievement gap, which most educators would agree needs to happen. However, simply overhauling our education system cannot alone reduce the achievement gap.

“There are many factors that contribute to the achievement gap, and standardized curriculum and assessments may not be enough,” says Bethany Hosking, Moyes’ partner in Learning Tree Schools, offering child day care and preschool in the Salt Lake area. “If we don’t catch children at their most crucial developmental years, birth to age three, and provide access to high-quality care and educational opportunities for all, children may already be set up for failure.”

Study after study has shown that the best way to combat the effects poverty and social inequality have on a student’s education is to provide access to quality programs at the youngest ages. And that’s just what Learning Tree Schools provides.

“We take the care and education of each child very seriously,” says Moyes, who offers three child development centers in the area. “We begin taking children as infants, and provide a high quality and interactive program that stimulates them and addresses each developmental stage appropriately, challenging them and enforcing an early love of learning.”

Learning Tree Schools serves children from infant to school age, and employs only the most highly trained staff that is attentive to the needs of each child, encouraging exploration of their environments and development of the skills they need at each age.

Their West Jordan private kindergarten program utilizes a first grade curriculum that offers different ways of learning needed skills, allowing children of all learning backgrounds to find the way that speaks to them to pick up the skills they’ll need in the future.

“Each child learns differently, and has a different way of processing information,” says Hosking. “That’s one thing traditional education and federal mandates for standardization don’t take into account. The way a child learns, and even their capacity for learning, is dependent on so many factors, from where they live, to how they live, to who they live with. And until we can find a way to address all of those categories, in addition to just scores on a test, real reform will be difficult to achieve.”

© 2014 Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

Commission Says Early Childhood Education Key to Healthier America

Salt Lake City, Utah – A new study released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America has found that expanding access to quality early child care programs may be one key to building a healthier America.

In addition to expanding quality education opportunities, the RWJF also recommends revitalizing low income neighborhoods and broadening the mission of health care providers beyond just medical treatment. The commission was first formed in 2008 and previously offered 10 recommendations in 2009 to improve the health of all Americans.

“The commission’s findings offer information we’ve always known,” says Amy Moyes, co-owner of Salt Lake City preschool, Learning Tree Schools. “The health and well-being of our children is impacted by so much, and access to quality early care and educational opportunities is one of them. The earliest moments of a child’s life can set them up for serious illness later in life. We may think our children don’t face stress, but the effects of stress in their early years can show up years later as heart disease, diabetes and other serious issues.”

The commission recommends the following:

  • Ensure access to quality early childhood development programs for all preschool children from low-income families by 2025.
  • Strengthen quality standards for early childhood programs.
  • Link funding of early childhood programs to performance.
  • Help parents who struggle to provide healthy, nurturing experiences for their children.

“We have talked before about how nurturing experiences in their early years set children up for success later in life,” says Bethany Hosking, co-owner with Moyes of the Murray child development centers. “Children may not experience much consistency in their home environments, which impacts not only their health, but their learning abilities as well. If all children are given access to quality child day care and learning opportunities, we can create not only healthier children, but children who are ready to pursue their educations.”

Where we live, learn and work all has a direct impact on our health. The report states “While much emphasis has been placed on the foundational importance of the early years for later success in school and the workplace, we are convinced that an environment of supportive relationships is also the key to lifelong physical and mental health.”

Fostering stable and nurturing relationships with adults outside of their homes, especially for children who may have unstable family lives, can help protect children from the adverse effects their home life might otherwise have on them. Early childhood educators and care providers have the ability to positively impact the lives of the children they serve by offering a loving, warm environment where the child feels safe and secure.

“We as a nation invest significant dollars in education from kindergarten through 12th grade,” says Moyes, whose Learning Tree Schools serve children from infants through school age. “But that’s not enough. A child’s critical years of development are birth to age three, and we currently rank 25th out of 29 industrialized nations in funding for early childhood programs. That simply isn’t good enough, and our children are suffering for it.”

The science speaks for itself – if children experience high stress during these critical developmental years, when their brains and bodies are developing most rapidly, their chances for a healthy and successful future diminishes. Providing quality early childhood care and educational opportunities, like those found at Learning Tree Schools, not only sets children up for future academic success, but may also help them establish a lifetime of good health.

© 2014 Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

Early Childhood Education Should Be Government Priority

Salt Lake City, Utah – Research has consistently proven that investing in early childhood education is a solid decision that can have tremendous impacts on the future of our nation. But does Congress feel the same way?

In President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address, he introduced a plan to offer preschool to every four year old in the nation. But how much money can Congress actually provide to make this dream a reality?

While the final deal to avoid sequestration warded off the vast amounts of cuts that Congress might have had to make, it keeps the budget relatively flat for the next two years. So where does that leave new initiatives to expand early child care and education programs?

“Unfortunately, it might be too early to have an answer for that,” says West Jordan child development expert Amy Moyes. “While we are delighted that there won’t be additional cuts in federal spending, there is still so much progress to be made to offer quality education to all children.”

“We were heartened by President Obama’s State of the Union address where he acknowledged the importance of early childhood education,” says Bethany Hosking, who with Moyes owns Learning Tree Schools. “We have dedicated our lives to providing exceptional early childhood education opportunities and love it when our government recognizes the importance of investing in such programs. Now we hope the dollars can be found to provide excellent educational opportunities for young children.”

So what exactly did the President’s address lay out?

The president proposed a new federal-state partnership to provide low and moderately low income four-year-olds with the opportunity to attend a high-quality preschool. His proposal also hopes to expand these programs to middle class families and provide incentives for full-day kindergarten policies. The program hopes to be financed through an income sharing model with each state. The hope is that the readiness gap will be closed, ensuring each child enters kindergarten ready to succeed.

And that means creating more of a supply of quality learning opportunities for these young children. The President would like to see a greater investment in a new Early Head Start Child Care partnership that would expand the availability of providers that serve children from birth to age three.

The President also recognizes the importance the home plays in creating children ready for success, so he has already committed $1.5 billion to expand home visitations. These visits include the most vulnerable children, and improve the child’s health, development and ability to learn.

Studies show that low income children have less access to high quality educational opportunities, which means they will enter school unprepared for success. In fact, children from low income homes who aren’t reading at grade level by third grade are six times less likely to graduate from school as their more proficient peers. But low income families aren’t the only ones affected, often middle class families cannot afford higher quality private education opportunities, either.

The United States is currently ranked 28th out of 38 countries for the share of four-year-olds enrolled in early childhood education, as deemed by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. And when you factor in the number who are in high-quality programs, that falls to fewer than three in 10 children.

The cost sharing model proposed by President Obama will greatly expand access for high quality preschool programs for four year olds, which is music to the ears of Moyes and Hosking.

“All children deserve the ability to attend a quality preschool program,” says Moyes. “We pride ourselves on our excellent preschool and all-day kindergarten programs that not only push our children, but help them foster a love of learning that will serve them throughout their lifetime. Our hope is that all children are given the same opportunity.”

© 2014 Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

Parents Key to Student Success

Salt Lake City, Utah – As class sizes continue to grow and teachers become busier and busier attempting to meet the needs of each student in their classrooms, the role of parents is becoming more and more integral in the success of their children’s academic careers. And that involvement should start as early as preschool.

“The involvement of parents in their children’s school careers is crucial,” says Bethany Hosking, co-owner of a Salt Lake City child development center. “But that is getting harder and harder as the number of working parents continues to increase. Many parents simply lack the time to assist in their children’s educations, but to make sure their children succeed, their participation is a key ingredient.”

There are several benefits to parents being partners in their children’s education, in addition to just performance being enhanced. Parents will be more aware of what is happening in the school, and can get involved to assist when needed. Often, parents are so busy with their own hectic schedules and managing the schedules of multiple children that they may not realize there is a problem or something the child may need extra assistance with. Having an open dialogue with both their student and the teacher can keep parents in the loop and allow them to intervene when needed.

Additionally, parents will have a firsthand view of any areas in which their child may struggle. Often, just sitting in a parent/teacher conference may not be enough to truly understand areas where your child might need extra help. However, sitting next to him or her while she is working on the subject he struggles in will give you a better picture and allow you to help.

Children of involved parents also tend to have better attendance and more enthusiasm for their education because they are following the lead of their parents. Parental involvement allows the parent and child to bond over a common goal.

“The difference parental involvement can make is tremendous,” says Amy Moyes, who co-owns child care and preschool Learning Tree Schools with Hosking. “Children do better in school, stay in school longer and even enjoy school more. Another crucial area that is enhanced is behavior – children of involved parents tend to behave better and have better social skills, which is important especially in beginning learners.”

The bottom line is quite simple, when parents talk to their children and expect them to do well, children will rise to the challenge. But schools must also be receptive to parental involvement by serving families in ways that encourage involvement and support. When children are supported at school and at home, they make greater strides and are set up for a lifetime of success.

© 2014 Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Millionairium and Learning Tree Schools are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

The Importance of Consistency in Early Childhood

Salt Lake City, Utah – All parents stress over whether they are doing the best for their children. But one of the most important things we can give them to help them succeed in life is consistency – both in their care at home and in their early childhood education and care.

“Consistency gives children a sense of security,” says Amy Moyes, owner of Learning Tree Schools, a Salt Lake City childcare. “Consistency helps children feel safe, and can have beneficial effects on their long term growth and development.”

Parents can work on building consistency at home by creating schedules, or routines, that children come to embrace as part of their lives. From eating dinner at the same time every night to going to bed at a consistent hour, children will come to appreciate the regularity of their days. And more importantly, they won’t be caught by surprises and they will learn to trust their parents and caregivers.

“Too many unknowns can create fear and anxiety in children,” says Moyes’ partner Bethany Hosking, who is co-owner of the Millcreek childcare centers. “Consistent routines help children understand that their needs will be taken care of.”

This also extends into their childcare and preschool days, as well. Consistency extends beyond the home, into the care they receive while they are away from their primary caregivers.

That means choosing a daycare location that will serve the needs of your children for years to come. Constantly uprooting your child to move to a new daycare facility will interfere with their developmental and learning needs.

“It is important to choose a childcare location that will value, love and nurture your child,” says Moyes. “But it is also important to choose one that values consistency as much as you do. This consistency will promote healthy development throughout your child’s formative years.”

Consistency for Social/Emotional Development
Attending the same child care facility throughout the early years of a child’s life allows your children to build strong relationships with their caregivers, as well as develop a sense of belonging in the same environment. This in turn builds security. Once a child is comfortable, he or she is more likely to participate and play, as well as follow rules. Children who experience consistency in care exhibit less aggressive behavior than those who are uprooted more often. When researching child care facilities, it is important to ask about caregiver turnover. Choose a location where the caregivers stay for long periods of time, giving your children the chance to build strong relationships. These relationships will build your child’s confidence and help them feel safe, secure and ready to learn.

Consistency for Cognitive Development
Having your children consistently attend a high-quality child care that provides developmentally appropriate activities will enable your children to develop the cognitive skills they need for each age level. Showing interest in stories, knowing colors, counting, and reciting and recognizing the alphabet are all examples of skills children need to develop. Quality day care programs will help children develop these needed skills, and consistently attending the same location gives children the confidence they need to participate in the activities needed to build these skills.

Consistency for Language Development
Between the ages of one and five, children very rapidly develop their language skills. If children are secure in their environments and comfortable with the people around them, they will be more likely to participate in conversation and other activities that help them further develop these skills. Consistent, daily interactions build vocabulary and promote conversational skills.

Consistency, as well as quality, child care are essential in helping create strong, confident children. When choosing a daycare location, be sure to select one that focuses on developmentally appropriate curricula, led by child care givers that are dedicated to staying in that location to work with your children.

© 2014 Sinai Marketing and Learning Tree Schools. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Sinai Marketing and Learning Tree Schools are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

How to Learn Through Play

Salt Lake City, Utah – Often times, parents think providing learning opportunities for their children involve highly planned out lessons and months of planning. But that’s not the case, according to a preschool expert.

“Learning can easily be incorporated into playtime,” says Amy Moyes, co-owner of a Salt Lake City child development center. “In fact, for young children, their early learning happens best through play, when they are free to explore their environments. As parents, we can do a lot to create valuable learning experiences while having fun at the same time.”

“The first experiences children have with learning come from the home,” says Bethany Hosking, Moyes’ partner in Learning Tree School. “We are placing more and more pressure on younger and younger children, but we can often forget that playtime is every bit as important to the development of our children as formalized schooling. Play offers children experiences that support their social, emotional and cognitive growth.”

Quality playtime that includes imaginative play and the use of props can go a long way in helping children create the foundational skills they will need to be successful in the future. It is up to parents, as well as caregivers, to help children develop mature play, wherein they take on multiple and different roles that allow them to expand their knowledge and language skills.

So how can parents and child care providers help? The best way is to create an environment that is open to pretend play and by supporting children to explore with their imaginations. The most productive play will come when the children are supported, and not directed, by the adults in their lives. Productive play can help children develop strong learning skills.

Parents should make toys and props that stimulate imaginative play readily available for their children to create their own play scenarios. Encourage your children to try new and more creative ways of play. For example, if you have a child who loves building with blocks, rather than encouraging them to just build a tall tower, ask them what other structures they think they can create with the blocks. Engage in a discussion about the purpose of each structure, who lives or works there, etc. This will build both the child’s level of creativity as well as build strong language and reasoning skills.

“There are so many ways we can encourage our children to learn through play,” says Moyes. “Parents can be a wonderful catalyst to helping children’s minds grow while they are having fun.”

Some tips for parents include:

  • If you have multiple children, be sure to give them plenty of time to plan and carry out their play time. They may need time to create their pretend scenario, as well as assign roles and determine props, etc. they will need.
  • Provide props or toys that encourage imaginative play and show your children different ways familiar objects can be used in new ways.
  • Incorporate play into all aspects of your day. Explaining to children the different jobs people who you encounter throughout the day do may encourage them to incorporate those jobs into their play. For instance, explaining the role of a server in a restaurant may encourage your children to add pretend restaurant play into their imaginative play.
  • Add to your family’s stash of props by bringing home items from places your visit often, such as restaurants, the grocery store, post office, etc. This can help children take on new roles that help them discover the world around them and create additional language skills.
  • Fill your home with books and stories that your children can act out, and encourage them to use their stuffed animals and dolls for additional roles as needed.
  • Most importantly, be available to participate in or observe the play as needed by your children.

Playtime doesn’t always mean your children are goofing off and not open to learning.
In fact, research has shown just the opposite – that high-quality and mature play can actually assist children in learning and becoming fully developed children with literacy, language and social skills.

© 2014 Sinai Marketing and Learning Tree Schools. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Sinai Marketing and Learning Tree Schools are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

Encouraging STEM Learning at Home

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Encouraging children to explore and succeed in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) areas should begin at home with the parents. Amy Moyes and Bethany Hosking, child care experts in Salt Lake City, explain how parents can help encourage their students.

“STEM skills are becoming increasingly important in our evolving world,” says Moyes, who operates Learning Tree Schools, a child care in Millcreek, Utah, with Hosking. “Parents play a critical role in their children’s educations, and encouraging interest in STEM will help them succeed later in life.”

So what can parents do to foster an early love of STEM?

Begin by setting high expectations for your children. Even at a young age, challenge your children and create a home environment that fosters learning. Support your children in their academic pursuits and encourage them to ask questions and seek the answers on their own.

Regularly talk about the importance of science, technology, engineering and math. Explain how these fields relate to their everyday lives and display examples of how and when you might use these skills.

”Limited educational TV time is acceptable,” says Hosking. “If you allow small increments of television in your home, encourage your children to watch science-oriented shows on The Discovery Channel and PBS. While we encourage limited use of screen time, you can maximize their time spent in front of screens by watching STEM related programming.”

Regularly include trips to museums, planetariums and other such places on your family outings. Not only will they be fun for the whole family, they’ll encourage learning while you’re at it. Go on family nature walks and talk about the vegetation and wildlife you see.

Establish relationships with your child’s teachers. If you understand what the teacher expect of the child in the classroom, you can help reinforce that at home. Working together with teachers can help children achieve more and build their confidence.

Expose your children to careers in STEM. Even if you or your spouse do not work directly in STEM related fields, seek out friends or family members who do. Encourage your children to seek mentors in these fields who can help them achieve their goals.

Incorporate STEM skills into everyday activities – building with blocks or Legos, cooking, etc. can all help children further develop these skills. Gardening, auto mechanics and even plumbing all use STEM skills. Allow your children to experiment and discover safely in your own home.

Encourage your children to ask questions. Let your children know that it is OK not to know all the answers, but encourage them to discover how to find the answers.

“Perhaps the most important thing to do, however, is to talk to your children,” says Hosking, whose child day care operates three locations. “Talk about what they are learning in school, what they like most about it. And always encourage them to share what they may be struggling with. That way, you can help them, and you can discuss with their teachers ways you may be able to help them succeed better through home activities.”

And always remember that STEM learning should start young, even in preschool. It’s never too early to foster a love of learning. Science, technology, engineering and math will set your child up for a lifetime of success.

© 2013 Sinai Marketing and Learning Tree Schools. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Sinai Marketing and Learning Tree Schools are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

Make Your New Year’s Resolution to Read More to Your Children

Child care experts advice teaching children to read books.Salt Lake City, Utah – Developing and maintaining reading skills is crucial for children. As parents, we should be helping them by creating reading opportunities throughout the day. Child care experts Amy Moyes and Bethany Hosking recommend making your New Year’s resolution to help your child read more.

“Our children’s success often depends on us and how willing we are to help them develop their skills,” says Moyes, who operates Salt Lake City preschool Learning Tree Schools. “There are so many ways we can incorporate reading into our children’s lives.”

If you’re a fan of the television show “Parenthood” you recently saw Joel and Julia dealing with their son’s below-grade level reading ability. Their solution was to send him to his grandfather, who offered a unique solution. The grandfather incorporated reading into something the child was already interested in – fixing up an old car. The grandfather had the child read each step to the restoration, so while the child was having fun and spending time with his grandfather, he was also developing his reading skills.

“Reading shouldn’t feel like a chore for your child,” says Hosking, co-owner of the child care center that has three locations including Millcreek. “Unfortunately, this can be the case for some kids, especially those who may not have the most advanced reading skills. Try finding something they like, and incorporate reading into it. Does your child love to cook or bake? Have them read aloud the steps in the recipe while cooking with you.”

There are plenty of other ways parents can encourage their children to read. Take turns reading aloud with your child. This can be helpful for parents to determine their child’s reading level, and to be sure their children are actually doing their reading. Make it a fun game. You can set a timer that goes off when it’s time to switch, or simply switch after a certain number of paragraphs or between chapters.

Do incentives work best for your children? If having a piece of candy or getting to spend extra time outside motivates your child, use it to your advantage and get them to read for that incentive.

Make trips to the library a regular activity for your family. It can be so much fun for children to pick out their own stories to read, and they may be more interested in reading books they’ve chosen themselves.

Do you spend a lot of time in the car?

“Read on the go,” says Hosking. “Keep books on your children’s reading level in the car and have them read to you as you’re driving. It can make your commute go faster. You can also have your children read the signs, billboards, etc. that they see while you are driving. This can be made into a fun game, and it can introduce children to words they may not be familiar with yet.”

Electronics are all the rage now – we rarely see children without some sort of screen in front of them. Use this to your advantage.

“Many parents think video games are the enemy,” says Moyes. “And while that can be true in some cases, there are many excellent games that can actually reinforce a child’s reading skills. You can also encourage children to read about their favorite games in magazines. The key to getting children to read is finding are what they passionate about, and in some cases, that might just be video games so take advantage of that. But remember, nothing replaces one-on-one time with a good book.”

Other tips to encourage reading include:

  • Create comfortable reading locations with plenty of light.
  • Make it a routine – at breakfast or before bed, be sure there is time each day dedicated to reading.
  • Offer plenty of encouragement. Read aloud together, talk about the stories together, etc.
  • Make reading a priority from a young age – it’s never too early to foster a love of reading! Babies and toddlers can enjoy age appropriate books.
  • Ask your children questions about the stories they have read once they are finished.
  • Find series that interest your child so they’ll want to keep reading.

 

Another way children can develop a love of reading is through seeing their parents read. Be sure you are setting a good example by not being afraid to pick up a book and read. When your older children have designated reading time, pick up your favorite book and read alongside them.

By spending some dedicated time with your children, finding fun ways to incorporate reading into your daily life, and offering plenty of encouragement, reading can become a fun and regular activity for your children.

© 2013 Sinai Marketing and Learning Tree Schools. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Sinai Marketing and Learning Tree Schools are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

Child Care Licensing in Utah – What You Need to Know

Salt Lake City child care licensing explainedSalt Lake City, Utah – When parents are making the difficult decision about what Salt Lake City child care facility to entrust their children to, they want to be sure the facility they choose meets, and exceeds, all Utah licensing requirements. But those waters can sometimes be hard to navigate. Amy Moyes and Bethany Hosking, owners of Learning Tree Schools, offer a simplified explanation of the types of regulated child care in West Valley City, Utah and throughout the state.

“There are so many decisions when choosing child care,” says Moyes. “Should you choose an independent facility, a chain or a family day care? How do you know they are meeting all the state’s requirements? Hopefully, we can help answer a few questions to make the decision a bit easier.”

Caregiver or teacher-to-child ratio is extremely important when looking at Millcreek day cares. Be sure the facilities you visit follow these guidelines.

Center-based day care
One caregiver for every four infants
One caregiver for every four toddlers (under 2 years of age)
One caregiver to every seven 2-year-olds
One teacher to every 12 3-year-olds
One caregiver to every 15 4-year-olds
One caregiver to every 20 5-year-olds

Licensed family day care
One caregiver may care for up to eight children, with no more than two children under the age of 2. Or one caregiver may care for up to six children with no more than three children under the age of 2. Or two caregivers can care for up to 16 children with no more than four children under the age of 2. It is important to note that the provider’s own children under the age of 4 count in each of these ratios.

Residential day care
One caregiver may care for up to eight children, with no more than two children being under the age of 2. As with a family day care, the provider’s own children under the age of 4 count in the ratio.

Exempt day care
One caregiver can care for up to four non-related children, with no limit on the number of infants.

“Additionally, there are several other things these child care providers must do in order to maintain their licensing,” says Moyes, whose Learning Tree Schools pride themselves on meeting and exceeding all expectations. “Parents should always be sure they are choosing a facility whose licenses are up-to-date and who are aware of the entire guidelines specific to their type of facility.”

To maintain a residential certificate, caregivers must undergo a yearly background check, complete an initial five hours of training, host an annual home visit with 90 days’ notice, enforce health and safety standards.

For a licensed family day care to maintain their certificate, they must submit to a yearly criminal background check and 20 hours of annual training. An annual and unannounced home visit must be completed. There must be an initial fire inspection and zoning and planning regulations must be met. They must enforce health and safety standards.

A child care center must have a yearly criminal background check completed on every caregiver, and every caregiver must complete 20 hours of initial training and at least 20 hours annually. They must pass annual fire and health inspections and have planned and posted activities for their children. They must also enforce all health and safety standards. Directors of these centers are required to have a CDA or degree in early childhood education. At an hourly child care facility, directors must also have at least two years of experience.

“Parents should be prepared to ask questions about the facility’s licensing,” says Hosking. “Don’t be afraid to ask to see an up-to-date license or certificate. You should feel comfortable with the facility you leave your child in, and knowing they have met and followed the state guidelines is one important step in that.”

The Bureau of Child Development, a division of the Utah Department of Health, is responsible for licensing child care facilities in the state. To learn more, or to find the most up to date information on your child care facility, parents can visit their website.

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