Mission & Vision



Rochester Childfirst Network believes in the inherent potential of every child, regardless of their background or needs. We promote equitable access to comprehensive services by providing innovative early care and educational programming for young children and their families in a safe, diverse, and nurturing environment.



Our vision is that every child grows up safe and strong, able to achieve his or her full potential.

RCN advocates at local, state, and national levels for quality Early Education and Care practices for ALL children.

RCN Is...

Inclusive, Nurturing, Playful, Diverse, Educational, Evidence-Based, Individualized, and Fun!

How to Recognize a Good Caregiver

Caregiver Tips

Look for a caregiver who…

  • Listens and is enthusiastic
  • Pays attention to the quiet child—as well as to the more demanding one
  • Bends down to talk at eye-level with the children
  • Welcomes parents into the setting

Watch out for a caregiver who…

  • Complains and makes excuses
  • Belittles children or gossips about other staff members
  • Focuses primarily on the “trouble-makers”
Will My Child Grow and Thrive Here?

Look for situations where children are encouraged to…

  • Use their words to talk about their feelings
  • Solve disagreements on their own
  • Feel comfortable turning to adults for help
  • Explore and enjoy new activities

Watch out for situations where children appear to…

  • Get scolded for minor mistakes
  • Look pressured to conform rather than cooperate
  • Exclude others from taking part in activities without an adult intervening
  • Seem anxious and afraid to have fun
Is Learning Going On?

Look for a program where children are encouraged to…

  • Experiment and solve problems individually as well as in small groups
  • Wonder and ask questions and to use all their senses
  • Enjoy the pleasure of creating something, more than the appearance of the end product
  • Make use of appropriate materials of all sorts, but are not allowed to overuse computers, DVD players or electronic devices

Watch out for situations where…

  • The teacher is too intrusive and does everything for the children
  • The teacher blames the children if the lesson isn’t successful
  • The children’s artwork and projects all look identical
How is the Curriculum?

Look for programs where…

  • Children can make choices about what areas and materials to explore
  • Learning looks like such great fun that you want to join in
  • A daily schedule helps children know what to expect but is also flexible enough to adapt to special circumstances
  • Materials of all sorts—including dress-up clothes, art supplies, puzzles, blocks, books—are available and accessible for children to use
  • A place and a plan are provided for both active and quiet play

Watch out for programs where…

  • Children must all be doing the same thing at the same time
  • Children are hesitant to do anything without an adult’s assistance
Will My Child Get Enough Physical Activity?

Look for a program where…

  • Adequate space is provided both inside and out for physical activity
  • A range of activities is provided (climbing, dancing, jumping…)
  • Children of all shapes, sizes and abilities are encouraged to gain awareness of their bodies and develop their skills
  • Small muscle coordination is also fostered by using materials such as puzzles, peg boards, blunt scissors, blocks

Watch out for programs where…

  • Children have limited space to move around
  • The teacher’s primary goal is to get the children quiet and to keep them still
Is the Setting Welcoming?

Look for a program where…

  • Children of all races, backgrounds, religions, and abilities are included and look comfortable together
  • Cooperation, rather than conformity, is rewarded
  • Parents feel comfortable and valued when interacting with the caregiver
  • Meals and snack times are opportunities for conversation between children and caregivers
    children, parents, caregivers, and staff know each other’s names

Watch out for programs where…

  • Certain children seemed favored or are more apt to be punished than others
  • The philosophy is that children are to be seen, not heard
  • Parents struggle to get information from the caregiver
Is this a Safe and Healthy Place?

Look for programs where…

  • The facility looks clean and inviting
  • Bodily functions are treated in a matter-of-fact way
  • Meals and/or snacks are nutritious and provided at appropriate intervals
  • Active play is supervised

Watch out for programs where…

  • Rooms or areas seem difficult to supervise properly
  • Food is used to reward or punishment
How Do I Know if I’ve Chosen the Right Place for My Child?

If you feel comfortable, safe and valued,

If you feel eager to take part in the activities,

If you feel happy to spend time with this caregiver in this setting,then chances are your child will thrive here, too.

What Parents Say

Since being at RCN, I’ve changed in the ways I react and respond to things my child says and does. I’m still a work in progress, but life is much better than it was before RCN!

RCN Parent

My husband and I were searching for a childcare center that would teach our son to be kind to others, offer to be helpful, have listening ears. Because of RCN, you have taught us as parents to instill in our son amazing skills and everyday traits that will take him through his educational development.

RCN Parent

Thank you, RCN, for teaching our son to be a wonderful young boy and a bright, smart SHINING star!

RCN Parent

I love how RCN is so inclusive and willing to work with the entire family…our daughter will succeed in Kindergarten with the extra support and tools instilled by RCN. Thank you!

RCN Parent

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