What to Look for in an Early Childhood Education Center

What to Look for in an Early Childhood Education Center

Your little one is special, and you want to make sure they have the best care possible when you are not around. Touring daycare centers can feel overwhelming, and it can be tough to find the best option if you are not sure what you are looking for.

Having a list of questions like the ones below can go a long way in helping you find the right care provider.

Common Questions to Ask Daycare Providers

Understanding Discipline and Daily Schedule

While there is no need for your child's daycare to follow the same schedule that your family follows at home, it can be helpful to understand whether a center's structure and discipline routines are a good fit for your child.

A few questions that you will want to ask about discipline and scheduling include:

  • What is your approach to discipline?
  • What is the daily schedule like for children?
  • How do you comfort and manage upset children?
  • Are parents given a daily report on their child's day?
  • What time is drop off and pick up? Are these hours flexible?
Staffing, Safety and Health

Getting to know your child's care providers — and understanding how they are vetted — can help you feel more comfortable with your child's care. It is important that you meet the people who will be responsible for caring for your child before signing a contract with a provider.

Some questions that you will want to ask regarding staffing, safety and health include:

  • How are the staff members vetted and trained?
  • What is the turnover rate for staff members?
  • What is the teacher-to-child ratio?
  • Do the children have the same care providers every day, or do staff members rotate?
  • Are vaccinations required for children and staff members?
  • How do parents communicate with staff members?
  • What happens when a child is sick or injured?
  • Are the toys and facilities regularly cleaned and sanitized?
  • What are your emergency protocols?
  • What security measures are in place (security cameras, gate alarms, building entry, etc.)?
Education, Curriculum and Activities

Daycare can set your child up for success in school and beyond. Knowing the right questions to ask about academics and overall development will help you understand the knowledge and skills your child will develop in a provider’s program.

You will want to ask these questions to understand the provider's curriculum:

  • Do they provide an educational curriculum?
  • What is your educational philosophy?
  • Is screen time permitted? If so, what kind?
  • What type of enrichment programs are offered?
  • Do you provide meals and snacks? How are food allergies managed?
  • Is there outdoor playtime?
  • Is there a focus on developing social-emotional skills?
  • Is the school accredited?
Communication and Policies

You want to be involved in your child's care, and it's important to know how your care provider prefers to communicate with parents.

Some questions to ask your potential care provider about communication include:

  • Do caregivers provide regular updates about the child's day?
  • What is the policy for late pick-up and missed days?
  • What is the visitation policy for parents?
  • Are parents allowed to access the facility's cameras? What supplies will I need to provide (diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream, sunscreen, nap mat, etc.)?
  • What are your tuition and fees?
Before You Leave

Throughout the tour, pay attention to your surroundings. Are children and teachers engaged in play and learning? Is the environment warm, welcoming and clean? After the tour is over, be sure to ask the staff member who gave you the tour how you can contact them if you have any lingering questions. And remember, sometimes choosing the right care for your child comes down to a feeling. Ask the right questions and trust your gut — you will find the perfect place for your little one!

Visit us at your local Goddard School 

At The Goddard School®, children thrive in a nurturing setting that prioritizes holistic development, setting them up for future success in education and beyond. Our classrooms and lessons are designed with children’s needs in mind so they have fun learning and growing. Through play-based activities and hands-on learning experiences, children are encouraged to explore, create and develop essential skills. Experienced teachers provide personalized attention, promoting social, emotional and academic growth. We look forward to meeting you at one of our schools!

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