Child Care settings vary in terms of educational philosophy, curriculum, costs, hours of operation, and services offered. Once you have explored your child care options, we encourage you to visit as many programs as possible and observe. There are many things to consider in making your choice.
Licensed Child Care Center
This facility is approved by the state Office of Licensing (OOL) for the care, development and supervision of six or more children under 13 years of age who are in care for less than 24 hours a day. Child care centers often group children by age and are generally operated out of commercial buildings. Centers that are accredited by a national association are programs that have been recognized as high-quality programs. Centers participating in Grow NJ Kids, NJ's Quality Rating and Improvement System, are programs participating in quality activities to continuously improve their program to meet higher quality standards beyond licensing standards.
Types of licensed programs include:
- School Age Child Care Programs are licensed to care for children who are enrolled in public or private school when classes are not in session. Different options for school-age care exist in the community. Local schools may provide care during the before- and after-school hours and may contract with an outside provider such as the YMCA or Boys and Girls Club to offer this type of care.Some family child care providers and child care centers also offer school-age care. Other programs, such as parks and recreation departments, community-based programs, and churches may offer this type of care as well.
- Consider location and transportation needs, as you may be responsible for making transportation arrangements.
- Nursery Schools are child care programs that operate less than a full day, typically two to three hours during the morning or public-school hours. Most nursery schools serve children between the ages of two & a half and five years old. Children may be required to be toilet self-sufficient to attend.
- Preschool Programs are typically offered for children ages 3-5 years old. They may be offered through a school district, faith-based organization, non-profit organization, and child care centers.
Families choose child care centers for different reasons:
Child care centers have a classroom-like environment where children are cared for in groups of other children typically their same age.
- Child care centers have more adults present in the building.
- Child care centers offer a variety of activities and opportunities for children.
Programs operated by the local public-school districts, which are responsible for the implementation and management
Private schools which are solely run for educational purposes offering elementary education in grades kindergarten through, 6th, 7th or 8th and their kindergarten, pre-kindergarten or a child care center are an integral part of the private educational institution or system.
Registered Family Child Care Provider
Families choose family child care providers for different reasons:
- The home-like environment is appealing to many families.
- Family child care providers care for fewer children at one time.
- Siblings can be together because most family child care homes have different ages of children enrolled.
- There are fewer adults that may care for your child on a daily basis.
- Family child care homes may be more flexible with their hours of operation compared to other types of care.
Family, Friend, Neighbor Provider
Families may choose this type of care for several reasons:
- Family, friend, and neighbor care providers 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.
Live-in and Live-out Nannies provide care in the child’s home. Nannies are not individually regulated by the State of New Jersey. Parents can utilize placement agencies for referrals. If you employ someone for more than 20 hours a week, you are required to pay them minimum wage in New Jersey. In this situation, you are considered an employer and should contact the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development and the IRS to obtain a complete understanding of your obligations.