What should you be looking for when picking a daycare for your children?

A Pascagoula daycare is under investigation after a child is reportedly attacked

What should you be looking for when picking a daycare for your children?
Jackie Smith and her 'little dreamers' at her daycare in Ridgeland.

RIDGELAND, MS (WLBT) - The story of eighteen-month-old Dakota Hudson and the injuries he sustained from another child at an in-home daycare in Pascagoula have gone viral.

Hudson returned to his mother last week with a face full of scratches.

The 18-month-old shows obvious signs he had been attacked.
The 18-month-old shows obvious signs he had been attacked.

While the State Department of Health investigates, WLBT spoke with a local child care provider to see what parents should be looking for when choosing a childcare facility.

“Starting early to implement character education and structured learning is a wonderful thing,” Jackie Smith said.

Smith opened Little Dreamers Daycare in Ridgeland 17 years ago. According to Smith, providing proper childcare is essential for both educational and social development. Which is why she said having standards like those set by the Mississippi State Health Department are important.

“Every child needs to be in some structured environment, some learning environment and if you have an infant or a one-year-old with a four-year-old, which is not so good,” said Smith.

To do this, Smith says she makes sure she hires the right people.

“The teachers that maintain those groups are trained on certain developmental standards for those children, appropriate learning activities for that age group,” she continued.

Jackie Smith and her students stand in front of the Christmas Tree at Little Dreamers in Ridgeland.
Jackie Smith and her students stand in front of the Christmas Tree at Little Dreamers in Ridgeland.

In terms of licensed facilities vs. non-licensed?

Smith said, “People have to make a living. I understand that. And they are probably doing the best that they can do. It may be cheaper. Cheaper is not always better.”

Jamila Jones is a new mother. When she was looking for a day care for her five-month-old son, Isaiah, the two most important things to her were attentiveness to the children and education. “You can actually get the teachers to teach them different things,” she said.

When determining where to send Isaiah, Jones said she had a number of things to consider.

“I asked them how often do they feed the children. I asked them if someone was sick, do they have someone to replace them?" she said. "How many children is it to one teacher? I made sure that my child would be taken care of while I’m away for 8 hours a day.”

Jones said she also chose a licensed facility because they are held accountable should something happen.

Smith agreed. “You are open to the elements of surprise. A state licensed official can come in at any time.”

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