Education
One of the highest priorities for relocating families is finding a new school appropriate for their children and providing a smooth transition so learning can continue and new friendships can be formed. This chapter will provide an overview for learning more about the many educational resources available in the Los Angeles area. You’ll also find information about colleges and universities, private Los Angeles–area school districts.

The Los Angeles region is rich in education opportunities from early child care to graduate school. Within the greater Los Angeles area there are more than 3,000 public and private schools, so finding the right one for your needs can seem overwhelming. Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) educates more than 662,100 children in the city of Los Angeles and surrounding neighborhoods with 1,124 schools throughout the district. The district is the largest in California and the second largest in the United States.

Parents also can select from a few hundred private schools offering pre-K through high school education, which include institutions rooted in religious traditions, schools that provide intensive academic experiences or schools reflect a particular pedagogy or specialization for specific populations. The diversity of schools helps area residents fulfill the American ideal of educational pluralism and collectively contributes to teaching, nurturing and inspiring young minds.

CHILD CARE

Upon arrival to the Los Angeles area, one priority may be determining where to get child care, especially for children under the age of six. Many couples are both professional income earners and may not have close or extended family nearby to help. Luckily, the region offers many options and resources, including licensed facilities, independent child-care homes and access to in-home professionals.

DEFINING CARE TERMS

California’s Community Care Licensing Division (CCLD) runs the Child Care Licensing Program, which licenses and monitors family child care homes and child care Centers to ensure that they provide a safe and healthy environment for children who are in day care.

According to the CCLD, the Child Care Licensing Program licenses both Child Care Centers and Family Child Care Homes.
  • Child Care Centers (CCCs) usually are located in a commercial building. Nonmedical care and supervision is provided for infants to school-age children in a group setting for periods of less than 24 hours.
  • Family Child Care Homes (FCCHs) must be in the licensee’s own home. An FCCH reflects a homelike environment where nonmedical care and supervision is provided for periods of less than 24 hours. There are small and large FCCHs. Small FCCHs provide care to no more than eight children, and large FCCHs provide care to no more than 14 children.

TOOLKIT FOR FINDING THE RIGHT CHILD CARE FACILITY

Considering that selecting a child care provider is one of the most important decisions you can make, it is vital to ask the right questions of a child care provider to make an intelligent choice when choosing a facility for your children. One resource that can help you locate and evaluate child care is the Collaborative for Children Resource (
www.collabforchildren.org). Take a moment to review the following tips regarding the child care selection process.

Health and Safety
  • Check child care licensing compliance history on the California Department of Social Services website at http://ccld.ca.gov/PG411.htm.
  • Observe cleanliness of center and diaper changing and handwashing procedures.
  • Ask about security of medicines and chemicals in the facility.
  • Ask if the caregivers are certified in CPR and First Aid.
  • Ask about the meal and naptime routines.
  • Ask about transportation procedures if children are taken on field trips.
  • Ask about discipline procedures when children act out or break classroom rules and how positive behavior is encouraged.
  • Observe indoor and outdoor play areas and safety precautions used by staff.

Activities
  • Ask about planned activities and observe the equipment, toys and materials in the space.
  • Ask whether the children are read to daily and look for the quality and quantity of books in each room.
  • Ask about the amount of time spent each day on the playground (30–45 minutes in the morning and afternoon are recommended).
  • Ask about the use of technology (e.g., TV, VCR, computers) in the facility, recognizing that limited use is recommended for young children.

Quality Factors
  • Remember that consistent, positive relationships with caring adults will allow your child to grow, develop and learn.
  • Observe if the caregivers are warm, caring and enjoy their work.
  • Ask if the program is accredited or certified by a recognized respectable agency, such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children (www.naeyc.org), which has higher requirements than minimum child care licensing standards.
  • Ask about the experience, education and regular training of the caregivers.
  • Ask about the number of children assigned to each caregiver and the number of children in each room to understand the opportunities for individual attention.

Parent Involvement
  • Ask if parents are welcome to visit and how they are encouraged to participate.
  • Ask how and how often caregivers will communicate with you about your child’s progress.
SOURCE: Collaborative for Children Resource

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