7 questions to ask your daycare provider from CareLuLu
Eighty-five percent of a child’s brain development takes place by age five. Finding great child care with quality early education is thus critical. However, finding care can be a lengthy and frustrating process. I personally called dozens of child care centers and visited 16 before finding the one that was right for my family. Parents, especially first-time parents, often don’t even know what to look for. In this post, I have compiled a list of 7 must-ask questions that will hopefully help you find a quality child care provider.
- Request to see a child care license (state license or county permit) and make sure it hasn’t expired. This is really critical and will ensure that minimum standards are met in terms of safety, teachers’ education, and staff background checks.
- How long have teachers (and the director) been at this center? A low turnover rate is a sign of happy teachers and ensures a stable environment that is needed for children to develop a strong relationship with their caregivers.
- What is the level of education and staff experience? Inquire specifically about the teacher(s) that your child will have. Not all teachers have the same training and experience, so what really matters is information on your child’s would-be teacher(s).
- How do the director and teachers communicate with parents? Is there frequent and consistent communication? Does the school offer a daily sheet, a weekly report, or perhaps use an online platform to communicate in real-time? Your child will be in child care for many hours every day, so you want to be sure you know what’s happening.
- Visit a classroom and observe teacher-child interaction to see how teachers are talking with children and if they seem to have a loving and caring relationship. Do teachers get down to the children’s eye-level during a conversation? Look for positive interaction such as high-fives, laughter, and words of encouragement.
- Ask for parent references. Don’t be shy, call them because those parents can give you a more honest description of the center. If the daycare or preschool is not comfortable providing references, you should probably look somewhere else.
- How flexible and willing is the school to help you? Whether your schedule is unpredictable and you need a flexible provider, or your child is allergic and needs to be on a special diet, ask questions to see how willing the provider is to work with you.
Finally, write down the answers to all of your questions immediately after the tour to make sure you won’t forget. This information will also help you compare schools after you have visited several. When you get home, ask yourself how comfortable are you with the provider? In the end, you should go with your gut and pick the school that feels right for you. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.
If you have other tips for finding great child care not mentioned here, please share them below!