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There are many things to consider when choosing child care. Please read the list below or click to download our Child Care Checklist to keep with you as you visit potential child care providers. This list can also be used to help you periodically evaluate if the provider you have chosen is still right for you and your child.

The Provider:

  • Can the provider give references? (Be sure to check them).
  • Is the program licensed?
  • Is there an open door policy welcoming your visits, participation and input?
  • Is the caregiver patient when parents find it difficult to separate from their children?
  • Does the provider enjoy being with children?
  • Does she/he hug, rock, cuddle, talk, and sing to the children?
  • Is the provider knowledgeable about child development stages and trained in early childhood education?
  • Does the caregiver respect your family's values and culture?
  • Does the caregiver listen to children and use positive language when talking to them?
  • Does the provider regularly inform you about how your child is doing?
  • What are the caregiver's expectations and rules for children's behavior? Do they match yours? Does the caregiver use positive and non-punitive discipline?
  • Are you comfortable communicating with the provider about your child's needs?

The Environment:

  • Is the home or facility clean and safe?
  • Is the home or facility cheerful and interesting, but not over-stimulating?
  • Are there separate areas for diapering, sleeping, resting, and exploring?
  • Is there adequate indoor and outdoor play space for the children?

The Program:

  • What is the adult to child ratio?
  • Are there opportunities for staff to lean more about early childhood education?
  • Is parent involvement welcome?
  • Is information shared about how you can support your child's learning at home?
  • What is the daily routine? Is it too strict? Too relaxed? Are daily or weekly activity plans posted?
  • Are meals and snacks provided? Are they nutritious and fresh? Are menus posted?
  • Is social interaction encouraged during meal and snack times?
  • Are the activities and toys appropriate for your child's age?
  • Are materials easily available to children? Are there a variety of items for your child to play with and explore?
  • How does the provider accommodate children with special needs?
  • Do the children seem happy, secure, and stimulated?
  • Is your child eager to go there each day?