Six Questions to Ask Before Choosing Your Child Care Center

| October 9, 2012

teacher at preschool

Leaving your child in the care of someone else is one of the most difficult tasks that parents face. Finding the right child care provider takes finding someone you can trust.

When trying to select a child care center, don’t be afraid to ask questions. The more questions the better, including the conditions of the daycare, and the qualifications and philosophy of the staff and administrators. Keep reading for more questions to ask, and don’t forget to start your search on DexKnows.

Is the center licensed?

States differ on requirements for licensing, but finding out whether a child care center is licensed or certified is a likely sign that the staff have gone through background checks and that safety standards have been met.

The Child Care Resource Center suggests asking how many children a child care program is licensed for. It also says to ask what ages of children your child will be with.

State law may require that a child care center be licensed if it cares for more than a certain number of children. For instance, in Wisconsin, a person cannot care and supervise four or more children under 7 years old unless he or she is licensed to operate a child care center by the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families.

What are the director’s qualifications?

The Child Care Aware program advises that a director of a child care center should have a bachelor’s degree in a child-related field. Also, make sure the director has worked in child care for at least two years. Don’t be afraid to ask the director enough questions to make sure the director’s opinion of what children need to grow and learn match your own.

What are the teachers’ qualifications?

Child Care Aware also suggests asking about the lead teacher. The program’s website states that a lead teacher should also have a bachelor’s degree in a child-related field. It states to seek a center with a lead teacher who has worked in child care for at least a year.

Don’t forget to ask about other teachers. The Child Care Resource Center says ask about teachers’ and assistants’ qualifications and how many teachers and assistants there are per number of children.

Are staff prepared for emergencies?

Finding a provider ready and trained to handle health emergencies can give parents some stress-free moments. Questions should include whether the child care provider’s staff has first-aid training and are certified in child and infant CPR. Ask whether staff members are trained in child development and identification of abused children.

Are staff members happy?

While it may seem like none of your business, a happy staff may be more likely to provide quality care to your children. Ask about the turnover rate of the staff. It may be an indicator of other problems at the day care center.

If possible, talk to a teacher or staff member about the center and watch how the staff interacts with the children. See if the staff seem friendly and decide whether you like what you see. How do they react when children are not happy?

Are staff members screened?

Child Care Aware advises parents to ask whether caregivers can be seen by other preschool staff at all times. You want a setting in which a child is never alone with one caregiver.

These questions can help put you at ease as you take this important family step.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Child Care, Professional, Services

About the Author ()

Central Ohio journalist with 15 years experience at daily newspapers. Freelance writer and amateur photographer. Storytellers are my heroes, poets my idols and photographers my looking glass.