Whether it’s for your first kid or your fourth, evaluating a daycare or finding the best child care center can be challenging. Will your child be happy there? Is it the right place for your family? Do the hours work with your work schedule? Are the teachers certified? What is the education philosophy? Does it fit your budget? It’s a lot to think about, and can be a stressful decision to be make. We’ve rounded up a few questions that can help you start valuable discussions with the centers you’re considering.
- Is it licensed by a state or local government? Licensing requirements differ from state to state, but typically a licensed child care has met certain criteria to get the license and is inspected regularly by the state’s licensing agency to stay in compliance.
- What are the ratios of staff to children? The lower the ratio, the better for infants and toddlers (and it might be required depending on the state you’re in). As kids get older, the ratios tend to increase. Make sure you’re happy with the center’s ratios at all ages.
- How are the teachers trained? Do they receive continuing education training? A center’s training philosophy can help you understand what the center’s learning environment might be like.
- How do they handle discipline? This might be a hard question to ask (especially if your child is an infant), but it’s important that you’re comfortable with the center’s discipline strategy.
- What kind of communication can you expect from your child’s teachers? Paper? Email? Once a day? There are so many different ways to communicate these days. Being on the same page with your child’s teacher about communication lays a strong foundation for your child’s care and education.
- For more resources on choosing a child care provider, check out these sites:
Zero to Three Institute: How to choose quality child care North Carolina child care center checklist NAEYC: Finding quality child care