As a parent, you want what’s best for your child. When it comes to finding quality daycare, you want to be sure that your little one will be in good hands. Before entrusting your child to a daycare provider, it’s important that you ask a few key questions. This way, you can get a better sense of the provider and whether or not they will be a good fit for your family.
Here are some questions you can ask a potential daycare provider to help you make a decision.
What Questions Should I Ask A Daycare Provider?
It may sound strange, but when you set up that tour to see a new daycare facility, you’ve just booked an interview! The daycare facilities know this so they try and schedule you to come in during ideal times during the day.
They might even have polished answers for your questions. Don’t feel bad when you ask them all these questions. Trust your gut and ask follow up questions if you need to.
You want to know that this is a good place to send your child. After all, they will be there spending a significant amount of time away from you!
I’ve grouped the questions you should be asking your daycare provider into categories like basic info, health and safety, curriculum, staff, communication and more. Without further ado, here are questions to ask potential daycare providers for infants and kids.
Basic Info Questions : Hours, Tuition, Accreditation and Quality Assurance
What are the drop off and pick up times?
Do you offer full time and/or part time enrollment?
How much is tuition?
Do fees include meals (breakfast and lunch) or snacks?
Are there fees for different ages?
Is there a discount for siblings?
Are there additional fees? (i.e. registration, late fees, supplies, etc.)
Is this school a part of a regional or national organization?
How often is the school evaluated to ensure consistency with a quality assurance program?
Is the school licensed, registered and accredited?
Who is the accrediting organization?
How long has the school been licensed, registered and accredited?
Health and Safety Questions: Security, Health & Nutrition
What are the daycare/school’s policies related to safety?
Is the front entry always locked and staffed?
Does the school have an emergency preparedness plan?
Are the outdoor play areas safe, fenced and free from litter?
Is handwashing encouraged?
Are the toys, books and furniture clean and in good shape?
Are cleaning products locked up?
Are medicines locked up?
Does the school provide nutritious food?
Is the food prepared on site?
Are certain foods not allowed at the daycare? (i.e for allergy restrictions)
Can you accommodate our family’s _____ dietary needs?
Is there a fridge available for breast milk?
Are there feeding schedules?
What happens when a child is sick?
What is your policy about vaccinations?
Curriculum : Learning and Play
What will my child do throughout the day?
Is the curriculum research informed?
Does the curriculum prepare children for elementary school, academically and socially/emotionally?
How do you encourage both indoor and outdoor play?
How much time is spent outside?
Is appropriate technology integrated into the classroom?
Is my child’s development tracked and shared with me on a regular basis?
Do the children take field trips? If so, what are the field trip policies?
Environment : Atmosphere and Interactions
What is the classroom energy like?
Does the daycare have a welcoming environment?
Is the daycare safe and clean?
Are the children and teachers happy?
Are the teachers responding to the children? Do they talk to them and not at them?
Are children engaged in the activities and interacting with other children and teachers?
People and Staff: Training, Turnover
What are the training requirements for teachers?
Are there ongoing training opportunities and professional development for teachers?
Are the teachers and staff certified in first aid and CPR?
How long has the teacher / staff been with the school/daycare?
How does the daycare handle staff turnover?
Parent Communication : Methods and Frequency
How often does the school communicate with parents?
What is the method of communication? (phone calls, reports through email or app, letters, photos, etc.)
What are qualities of a good daycare?
- Clean and organized facility
A good daycare should be clean and well-organized. This can have many benefits for both the children and the staff. A clean environment can help to prevent the spread of illness, and it can also provide a safe place for children to play.
A well-organized daycare can also help to reduce stress for the staff members, as they will be able to find everything they need quickly and easily.
- Great staff who care
Young children are typically more comfortable in environments where the adults are kind and personable. This can help them feel secure and happy, which is important for their development.
Additionally, when staff members are attentive to the needs of the children in their care, it helps to prevent behavioral problems from arising and serious safety concerns..
A friendly and attentive daycare staff creates a positive atmosphere that parents can feel good about entrusting their children to. When parents know their kids are in good hands, they can relax and feel confident about their decision to leave them at daycare.
- Interesting, Varied Schedule and Activities
The daycare should also offer a variety of activities for children to participate in. Infants are curious and exploratory by nature, and they need stimulating activities to help them learn about their surroundings. Additionally, providing a variety of activities helps to promote social and emotional development, as well as physical growth.
Infants learn best through play, so it is important that daycares offer a wide range of toys and equipment for them to use. Blocks, balls, dolls, and other manipulatives are great for helping infants develop fine motor skills. Music instruments, puzzles, and picture books can also be used to encourage cognitive development.
It is essential that daycares provide opportunities for infant-directed play. This means allowing infants to choose what they want to do, without too much interference from adults.
- Great Reviews
A good review should mention the staff’s attentiveness, the cleanliness of the facility, and the variety of activities available for children. Reviews can be found online or from friends and family who have used the daycare.
Don’t just stop at the business reviews on Google. Check local facebook groups, forums, and search relevant hash tags on social media for real life reviews from other parents.
- Well Documented and Consistent Policies and Procedures
Most daycares have policies and rules in place in order to create a safe and healthy environment for the children in their care. These policies and rules help to ensure that the daycare is meeting all of the health and safety standards set by the state. They also help to keep the parents informed about what is expected of them and their children while at the daycare.
Lastly, the daycare should be affordable for families. Daycares provide an important service to families and shouldn’t be priced out of reach. Parents need to be able to afford daycare so that they can work and support their families.
Interviewing daycare providers is an important step in finding quality care for your child. By asking the right questions, you can get a sense of the provider’s experience, philosophy, and expectations. This information will help you make the best decision for your family.