What to Look for in a Child Care Center
Below are some criteria to look for in a quality child care center. These questions should be considered when searching for the perfect place for your family.
- How long has the company been in business?
- Are they state licensed?
- How many times have they switched owners?
- Is the owner local or part of a franchise corporation?
- Does the center have a nice “curb appeal”?
- Are the grounds clear of trash/debris?
- Is it well landscaped?
- Is the landscaping taken care of well?
- Are the sidewalks safe, no holes or big cracks that might be tripping hazards?
- Does each age group have their own space / room?
- Are the rooms spacious?
- Are there any big rooms for large activities during the winter months?
- Are you greeted well and given a tour by the Director?
- Is the Director dressed professionally?
- Does the Director seem knowledgeable?
- Are they happy to answer any questions you have?
- Does the Director seem happy to be there?
- Are the teachers interacting with the children?
- Are they getting down to be on the same level as the younger children?
- Are all the teachers keeping their voices at a reasonable level?
- Are the staffed dressed appropriately for working with children?
- Do the teachers talk to the children in a happy / exuberant tone?
- How long has the Director worked for that company?
- How many years have they worked in the child care field?
- How many years have the rest of the staff been there?
- How often do they hire new people?
- Are there enough people in the building?
KID FRIENDLY DECOR
- Are there colorful and fun decorations displayed in the center?
- Are the decorations commercial or things the children have made?
- Are the decorations displayed correct for the current season / holiday?
- Do they brighten up the center?
- Age Range Number of Number of
- of Children Staff Children
- 6 weeks to 18 months 1 4
- 18 months to 3 years 1 6
- 3 years 1 10
- 4 and 5 years 1 12
- Kindergarten / School-agers 1 15
- Is there a good sized play structure?
- Is it in good working order and sturdy?
- Are there any obvious hazards on the playground?
- Is there enough equipment so that all the children can be playing on/with something?
- Do the children have an opportunity to play outside every day (weather permitting)?
- Are the younger children physically separated from the older children during outside play?
TOYS & GAMES
- Are the toys in good condition, clean, unbroken?
- How often are they cleaned/disinfected?
- Are there enough toys for each child to have something during playtime?
- Is there a good mix of educational and fun toys?
- Are the toys age appropriate?
- Does the center have fire evacuation / tornado plans in place and posted?
- Can they tell you quickly when the last drill was?
- Are there fire extinguishers readily and easily accessible?
- Is there an alarm system in place?
- Are the entrances secured?
- What is the sick child policy of the center?
- At what point do they call a parent to send the child home?
- Under what circumstances are you told about other children having certain illnesses that might be contagious?