Childcare and Schooling, from Life in the USA: The Complete Guide for Immigrants and Americans

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Life in the USA
American Community
Childcare

Childcare and Nursery Schools
For children under five years of age there is no national system of care or schooling. Day- care centers and nursery schools exist for these children, and these will differ from community to community. Some will be entirely private and expensive, others will be less expensive because they are affiliated with a religious or charitable organization, some will be sponsored by corporations at reduced rates for the children of their employees, and others will be run by state or local governments.

Private nursery schools of all kinds exist. There are even franchised chains of “learning centers” and “kiddie-gyms”, where young children and parents can exercise and play games together. Most, of course, are reputable, but several scandals involving systematic sexual abuse of children at nursery schools around the country have occurred, with dramatic trials covered heavily by the media. Many small nursery schools and day-care centers, often run by caring women or couples, have gone out of business because of sky-rocketing liability insurance costs.

“Baby-sitters” are available everywhere, and of course should be checked out very carefully. They will often put up notices on bulletin boards, but word of mouth is the best method of finding one. Expect to pay a premium for a good one, if you can find one. Since America does have a significant crime problem, it is essential that the baby sitter's safety be considered. The parents should always make sure the babysitter gets home safely.

Documents for Your Children. Education at all levels is covered in a separate section, but it is important to note that when moving to a new community, you'll need certain documentation in order to register your children at a school, especially a public school. You will need proof of residence like a lease or utility bills addressed to you at the local address, your child's medical and immunization records, and perhaps the transcripts from your child's previous school. Make sure also to have some kind of proof of birth for the child: a birth certificate or a passport.


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