Choosing child care is one of the most important decisions you will make for your child’s future. You can take the fear out of finding child care by learning how to recognize quality child care that will meet your needs and nurture your child.
Research tells us there are some important signs of quality child care:
- Small groups
- Low child/staff ratio
- Trained teachers
- Low staff turnover
- Nurturing environment
- Clean and safe environment
- Family involvement
Fewer children in a group means that your child gets more individual attention.
Trained teachers have child development knowledge that enables your child to grow and develop in a positive way.
A nurturing environment includes developmentally appropriate activities and materials.
When you are involved as a family, your input and presence in the child care setting strengthens and enriches your child’s holistic development.
Things to Consider
- Think about what type of care best suits your child’s needs and those of your family.
- Visit several programs to determine where you and your child will be most comfortable.
- Try to visit those programs during different times of the day.
- Take your child to visit the program before enrolling him/her. Observe your child interact with the caregivers and other children.
- Ask questions about the program. It is your right and responsibility.
- Inquire about each program’s star rated licensing and/or accreditation.
- Start your search when you know you are pregnant. It is never too soon to begin looking for quality child care!
Quality Child Care Checklist
Y or N What type of license does the program have? _____________ Does it meet your expectations?
Y or N Are the hours acceptable?
Y or N Is the facility safe and well maintained?
Y or N Is the atmosphere pleasant?
Y or N Is there good light and ventilation?
Y or N Are toys safe and age appropriate?
Y or N Is the outdoor area safe?
Y or N Are snacks and meals nutritious and well balanced?
Y or N Are cleaning supplies locked up and out of reach of children?
Y or N Are families’ ideas and visits encouraged?
Questions About Activities
Y or N Is there a daily balance of activities? (story time, outside time, or individual time)
Y or N Is there a daily schedule posted?
Y or N Is a particular curriculum used?
Y or N Are the activities appropriate for the age of the children involved?
Y or N Do the children play outdoors each day?
Questions About The Teacher
Y or N Are the teachers trained and experienced in child development?
Y or N Are children comforted when they need it?
Y or N Are the teachers’ voices cheerful?
Y or N Do teachers use positive guidance techniques to re-direct behaviors?
Y or N Are children greeted when they arrive?
Y or N Will the teacher tell you what your child is doing every day?
Y or N Are there enough adults for each age group?
Y or N Do teachers play with the children?
Y or N Do teachers seem to enjoy the children?
Y or N Do you feel that you are able to communicate your child’s needs with the staff, director, or family child care home provider?