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Information Connection: Choosing a Child Care Provider

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Brought to you by RPS Relocation Services

Before making your decision about a child care provider, visit several facilities.  The more you know, the easier your decision and the more comfortable you will feel making it. 

CareGuide has compiled the following questions and issues that you may want to discuss with a potential child care provider.  Before an interview, print out the checklist and take it with you.  If you have additional questions, add them to the list.  Remember, you are the parent and you have the right to ask as many questions as you want.  In addition to your interviews and instinct, listen to your child's opinions and feelings.  They are equally important in your child care decision.

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General Questions

  • Does the center take your needs into consideration? Is the staff accommodating and flexible?
  • What are the hours of operation?
  • How long has the facility been in business?
  • How many children is the facility licensed to provide for?
  • What is the philosophy of the center or home?
  • Does the facility allow non-toilet trained children?
  • Does the facility serve meals? Are they hot meals or snacks? Are they well balanced and nutritious?
  • Does the facility charge for sick days or when the child is on vacation? Does the provider close for holidays and if so which ones?
  • What is the facilities policy on sick children?
  • What supplies/equipment does the facility provide and what is the parent expected to provide?
  • Does the facility offer transportation? Is it safe and reliable?
  • Is your participation and involvement encouraged?

 

Facility Atmosphere

  • Do the children at the facility look happy?
  • Did your child feel comfortable during your visit?
  • Did she/he like the other children?
  • Does she/he think it would be fun to go there?
  • Is there a feeling of belonging at the facility?
  • Does the environment seem child-oriented?
  • Would you enjoy spending your day in this environment?
  • How is the lighting and ventilation?
  • Are safe, sanitary, hygienic conditions maintained?
  • Are there several toilets and wash facilities available and are children encouraged to wash their hands?
  • Where do children nap?
  • Is there an outdoor area that is safe to play in?
  • Is there space for running about freely for active play and still other space where quiet play may go on undisturbed, both indoors and out?

 

Staff/Child Interaction

  • Observe the interaction between the providers and the children - Does the staff seem happy and attentive to the children? Do they instill confidence in the children?
  • Do the children get individualized attention?
  • How does the staff physically handle the children?
  • Are the providers the kind of people you would enjoy being with outside of the facility setting?
  • How capable do the providers seem at being able to resolve conflicts between children?
  • How long has the staff been working at the facility (average tenure of staff)?
  • What is the staff-child ratio?
  • Does the classroom staff have experience and skills in child-care methods and developmental learning?
  • Are your questions, comments and visits welcome?
  • Does the center have strict procedures for hiring caregivers?
  • Are applicants interviewed by management, fingerprinted when required by state law and required to take a medical exam in compliance with state licensing regulations?  Are background checks and written references mandatory?

 

Activities

  • What is the emphasis of the activities?  To have fun?  To learn?  Both?
  • Are the learning programs designed for each age group?
  • Are the educational programs designed to prepare a child for primary education?
  • Do the activities emphasize physical fitness as well as mental development?
  • How big are the activity groups?
  • How noisy is it?
  • Are the activities the kind your child enjoys?
  • Are the toys used in the activities safe and appropriate for the children's ages?
  • Do the children have sufficient rest?
  • Will the children be watching television?  Is so, what programs and how much time each day?

 

Tuition/Fees/Rules

  • What is the exact arrangement for payment?
  • When are the fees due?
  • Is there a charge if you pick your child up late?
  • How much notice is required for your child to leave the facility?
  • Does the facility provide financial assistance?
  • Does the facility accept government subsidies?
  • Does the facility provide receipts for income tax credits?
  • Can you take a copy of the contract home in order to study it?

 

Emergencies

  • How is the facility set up to handle emergencies?
  • What are the procedures for contacting you?
  • Is the staff CPR and First Aid certified?
  • Which hospital are they affiliated with?
  • Is the staff prepared or trained for possible allergic reactions or other special needs?

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