Post Content

Chalkboard in classroom with pencils on a desk.

Choosing an early education and care program means selecting a safe and nurturing environment for your child that also fits your family’s needs and schedule. Early care can also play a critical role in your child’s emotional, mental, and physical development, so it’s beneficial to research available programs before choosing one. The following can help you make an informed decision:

Know Your Options

There are three main types of early education and care; each varies by location, focus, and different child ages and education levels.

  • Family child care is delivered in a provider’s home to children ranging from infancy to school age.
  • Center and school-based early education and care takes place in a community or school setting and serves children of infant, toddler, or preschool age.
  • After-school and out-of-school programs are center-based programs that often run within public school building space. They provide care and learning opportunities for children ages five to 14 years old at times when school is not in session.

Choose the Right Program

Five statewide Early Childhood Resource Centers offer resources to help families decide what will work best for them, including pamphlets and videos that provide details about available programs.

Once you choose a program, you will need to choose a provider. You can start by looking through the care options available in your area or consulting with nonprofits such as Child Care Aware, who provide community-based child care information.

With those decisions made, you may want to look into financing child care. The Department of Early Education and Care provides financial assistance to families who meet mandated income criteria.

Special Programs & Parenting Tools

Head Start is a nationally funded program that promotes school readiness through high-quality, local early education. This free program serves families who meet federal low-income guidelines, have children with special needs, or who receive public financial assistance. Those who do not meet these criteria are still eligible to enroll at a low cost.

Coordinated Family and Community Engagement Programs (CFCE) are locally based offerings that work to increase families’ knowledge of and access to high-quality education and care in their areas. They promote parent education and family engagement, and provide information and support to families and providers.

Because parents are a child’s first teacher, there are many ways to continue involvement in early education at home. Parents can find guidance on engaging with and supporting their child’s early education with brochures on topics from building a preschooler’s literacy to supporting an infant’s cognitive development.

Massachusetts is dedicated to helping all children build a solid foundation for healthy and productive lives through various initiatives. By participating in these programs, parents can help ensure their children get the resources and education they need during these formative years.

Do you have any questions about early education and care programs in the Commonwealth? Comment below or tweet us, @MassGov.

Written By:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Recent Posts

Volunteering: Making a Difference in Massachusetts posted on Dec 18

Volunteering: Making a Difference in Massachusetts

Volunteering can be a satisfying and worthwhile experience for everyone. Donating your time, talent, and effort are small ways to make a significant difference in your community. Many volunteer opportunities exist throughout Massachusetts that enable you to get involved in your community and improve the   …Continue Reading Volunteering: Making a Difference in Massachusetts

Safe Toys and Gifts for Children posted on Dec 17

Safe Toys and Gifts for Children

Children love receiving gifts and presents around the holidays, and the excitement that comes from unwrapping a gift can fill a house with joy. While toys are meant to be fun and entertaining, they can pose several safety risks. In 2013 there were approximately 256,700   …Continue Reading Safe Toys and Gifts for Children

Fun Winter Activities in Massachusetts posted on Dec 9

Fun Winter Activities in Massachusetts

Winter is the time for sipping hot chocolate by the fireplace, holiday feasts, caroling around the neighborhood, and strolling around a winter market with family or friends. The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT) offer a variety   …Continue Reading Fun Winter Activities in Massachusetts