Here are some of the most important things you have to make sure of when it comes to a day care center for your child.
How does it LOOK?
1. Is it clean, colorful, and in good repair?
2. Is there a safe outside place to play?
3. Is it “child proof”?
o Medicines and cleaning supplies are out of reach.
o The fire evacuation plan is satisfactory.
o Electrical outlets are covered or above children’s reach.
4. Are there different areas for each activity and are you satisfied with the amount of space for each?
5. Are there at least 35 square feet per child of usable playroom floor space inside and at least 75 square feet per child of outside play space?
6. Are there sufficient numbers and a variety of toys that will appeal to your child and that are in good condition?
7. Are the meals nutritious? Do they include foods your child will eat? (Ask to see a weekly menu.)
How does it SOUND?
1. Do the children’s voices sound happy and are they at a reasonable noise level?
2. Are the caregivers’ voices calm and caring?
3. Is there children’s music or singing at some time during the day?
4. Are the staff talking in subdued tones?
1. Are the caregivers actively involved with the children, not talking to each other, doing paperwork, or other unimportant things?
2. Is good and proper hygiene being practiced by the caregivers and everyone else in the center?
3. Are the parents encouraged to make unscheduled visits?
4. Do the caregivers establish rules that children can follow?
5. Do the caregivers spend time holding and talking to the children?
6. Are the caregivers warm and friendly toward the children?
7. Do the caregivers treat each child as an individual?
8. Is there a schedule of activities posted?
9. Is the discipline fair and consistent without yelling or hitting?
10. Are the children supervised at all times?
11. Do the caregivers talk to the children frequently, pleasantly, and in a way the children can understand?
1. Do the children seem to be comfortable, happy, and enjoying themselves?
2. Are the children encouraged to be independent, allowed to “do it myself”?
3. Is there a balanced schedule that includes active and quiet times, group and individual times, and indoor and outdoor play?
4. Are the children comforted when needed?
5. Are the children actively engaged in a variety of “hands-on” activities appropriate to their age and interests?
6. Are the children allowed to make choices among a variety of activities and learning opportunities?
How do YOU Feel?
1. Do you feel your child will be taken cared for?
2. Do you feel the home/center evoke a safe and cheerful ambiance?
3. Do you feel your child can learn here?
4. Would you feel comfortable leaving your child here?
5. Would you feel comfortable calling or visiting unannounced at any time?
6. Would you feel comfortable talking and working with the caregivers?
If, after the visit, you are considering sending your child to this center or home, ask for several references, preferably parents whose children are already enrolled in that particular center of your choice. You might also want to contact these parents and ask them about their experiences with the center/home directly.
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