Once you’ve gone through the process of choosing your child’s day care, your job as a parent doesn’t end there. It’s up to you to ensure that your cay care center of choice is holding up their end of the deal- there are many stories of day care centers that have promised to help potty train children, or teach them to read, only for parents to find out that their child wasn’t being given the instruction they were promised. How can you make sure that your day care center is actively taking part in your child’s development?

For starters, stop by occasionally. If you have time on your lunch break, take a few minutes to visit and observe your child’s classroom. Is it clean? What are the children doing at the time?

Secondly, even if your child is very young, encourage them to tell you about their day. Ask them what happened in class, what kind of projects they did, what they learned. Work with your child at home on subjects like reading and simple math, to see if they are progressing as they should be. If not, it may be time to request a meeting with your child’s care provider, to see an outline of exactly what they go over with the children during the day, and at what pace new material is being introduced.

Lastly, some day care centers provide parents with a hard copy of their lesson plan for the week. If your center does, ask your child about the specific things on the lesson plan, to see if the care provider is following it. If your center does not, it may be something to tactfully suggest, as a weekly lesson plan is also a huge boon for parents who choose to follow up the day care center’s teaching at home, making it much easier to ensure that the child is receiving consistent lessons.

While many parents view day care centers as a means of keeping their children safe while they work or attend school, care providers can help jump-start your child’s educational development. Education may begin in the home, but having the means and the desire to take an active part in your child’s early education and follow up with the day care provider’s teaching can give your young son or daughter a very real advantage when it comes to starting elementary school.