A common question for many parents is: How will I know if the child care arrangement I’ve chosen is the right one? Ask yourself:
- Is my child going to have fun there?
- Is my child going to be safe and healthy there?
- Will my child develop a love of learning there?
As a parent, you will have ideas about what you want in a child care setting. Here are some ideas about things to look for when checking out child care facilities.
Environment: A child care facility should be safe, clean, and well-maintained, and the setting should be bright and cheerful. The facility should have good air circulation and the temperature should be comfortable. There should be enough space for the children to move freely, with areas for active and quiet activities. Children should be protected from hazards; electrical outlets should have non-removable covers and cleaning supplies and hazardous items should be safely stored. If the facility cares for infants and toddlers, cribs should have firm mattresses without soft excess bedding, and diaper changing areas should be safe and clean. Stairs should have gates with handrails. The outdoor space should be enclosed and should be set up so staff can see all children during playtime.
Provider: The child care provider(s) should be seen talking to children as they play, diaper, and feed them. A child care provider should have ample opportunity to give your child individual attention. You should see the provider holding and cuddling children, providing comfort when needed. Children should be allowed to express their feelings, and should be given encouragement by having choices rather than being reprimanded.
Program: A child care activity program should be fun and creative, and support healthy child development. There should be enough play materials in easy access to the children so they stay busy and involved. Books should be available to children at all reading levels, including books for infants and toddlers, and books in children’s primary language. Television viewing should be limited. The play materials should help develop motor, sensory, and social skills and may include:
- Soft toys
- Field trips
- Building blocks
- Art materials
- Musical toys
- Riding and climbing equipment
- Big toy
- Learning games
- Sharing games