Finding quality childcare is not an easy task for parents. The quality of child care varies greatly, and the price is not always an indicator of good child care. This site will guide you on what things you should look for, and on the questions, you should ask when searching for a child care provider for your child.
Choosing quality child care for your child involves being observant and asking plenty of questions. A child care checklist is provided to help you select quality child care. A good child care center should have a welcoming, safe and nurturing environment.
• Is the provider's license posted or available?
• Does the environment appear clean and safe for children?
• Is the interaction between child and caregiver one of mutual respect and enjoyable for all?
• Does the caregiver get down to the children's eye level when talking?
• Does the caregiver sit with the children, rather than far away from them?
• Is there sufficient equipment for all children to play with?
• Is there sufficient staff for the number of children being cared for?
• Are children kept busy with fun and developmentally appropriate activities?
• Are there smoke alarms and an emergency disaster plan posted?
Approach With Caution If:
• Parents are limited to visiting hours and are not encouraged to drop in unannounced.
• Caregivers are unwilling or unable to tell you about your child's day.
• The caregivers do not act as if they enjoy their work.
• Health and safety concerns are not followed, for example, hands are not washed after diapering and before the meal times.
• The license is expired.
• References from current consumers are not available.
• Do the children sound happy and involved?
• Is the sound level appropriate? Is it either too quiet or too chaotic?
• Does the caregiver listen closely to each child and use positive language when
speaking with the children?
• If no license is posted, ask if they have a license.
• What training and experience does the caregiver have?
• Does the training include first aid and CPR?
• How does the caregiver deal with behavior?
• Will they provide you with a list of parents that you can contact for references?
• Are you welcome to drop in unannounced?
• On what dates is the site closed, i.e., for holidays?
• Does the caregiver offer alternative care for times when the program is closed?
• Do children go on field trips? If so, who drives and what vehicles are used?
• How much, if any, time do children spend watching television or videos?
• What happens in case of a medical emergency with your child?
• How does the caregiver handle prescribed medicine for children?