2-1-1 Child Care Launches 2010-11 Preschool Referral Database

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Conn. nonprofit offers free, multilingual resource for helping parents find the right preschool

With the start of a new school year fast approaching, many parents decide to transition their child from care in their own home to a preschool program provider. To help parents navigate the preschool enrollment process, 2-1-1 Child Care is pleased to offer free, multilingual referrals to preschool program providers statewide.

2-1-1 Child Care’s preschool database is updated throughout the year and includes listings for licensed and licensed-exempt programs throughout the state. Information from the database is available by visiting http://211childcare.org and chatting live with a child care referral specialist or by dialing 2-1-1, Monday-Friday from 8:00a.m. – 5:00p.m.

“Before choosing a preschool program, it is important for parents to do their homework,” said Sherri Sutera, senior vice president of child care services for 2-1-1. “Parents should consider their child’s personality traits, scheduling needs and the experience they are looking for them to have at preschool before enrolling them. Our child care referral specialists can work with parents to take these steps and also help them to screen potential preschool programs (both licensed family child care homes and center based) to ensure their children have the best experience possible.”

When parents call 2-1-1 Child Care at 2-1-1 or chat live at http://211childcare.org a child care referral specialist works with them to find a preschool program that meets both their needs and the needs of their child. Referral specialists will ask parents questions such as:

  • What size program are you looking for?
  • What geographic location would you like to program to be in?
  • What program hours work with your schedule?
  • Does your child have any special needs?

Once the child care referral specialists have worked with the parents to choose a few program providers that may be a good fit for their child, the specialists will walk parents through the screening processing, offering recommended questions as to potential preschool providers, key features of a quality child care program and coaching them on best practices for navigating the enrollment process. 2-1-1’s child care referral specialists can even offer parents helpful tips for preparing their children for preschool.

Sutera adds that preparing children for preschool is equally as important as choosing the right program: “While choosing the right part program helps to ensure all of your child’s needs are met, preparing them for the experience allows them to grow and thrive. Parents should visit the preschool program with the child prior to the first day to transition them into the program and alleviate the anxiety of not knowing what to expect. They should also talk with their children about the exciting new experience they are going to have and new friends they will meet,” she said.

To learn more about choosing the right preschool program and preparing your child for preschool, visit http://211childcare.org or call 2-1-1, Monday-Friday from 8:00a.m.-5:00p.m.

About 2-1-1 Child Care:
Funded by the Department of Social Services, 2-1-1 Child Care is a free, multilingual resource that helps families across Connecticut find child care arrangements to best meet their needs. 2-1-1 Child Care offers access to Child Care Referral Specialists who educate parents about quality child care, technical assistance and resources for early care professionals, and data and statistical information on Connecticut’s early care system for early care stakeholders. 2-1-1 Child Care maintains current listings of licensed and licensed-exempt child care options throughout Connecticut. In 2008, 2-1-1 Child Care received almost 30,000 calls and over 70,000 web visits. To reach a Child Care Referral Specialist, call 2-1-1, or to learn more, visit http://211childcare.org.

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Danielle Cyr

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