Basic Things to Look For
- Do the hours fit your schedule?
- Is a valid license or certificate posted where you can see it?
- Can you afford what they’re charging?
- Is it clean and well maintained?
- Is the setting bright, cheerful, and free of smells?
- Are there safety hazards?
- Are there enough toys and equipment that are safe, age-appropriate, and in reach of the children?
- Is there enough space for all activities (indoor/outdoor play, naptime, diapering, etc.)?
- Are the meals and snacks tasty and nutritious?
- Does the caregiver have good training and experience with children?
- Do the employees seem happy to be there?
- Have the employees been working there a long time?
Does the provider:
- Use encouraging words?
- Set limits with the children?
- Give children choices?
- Do the provider and children seem to like each other and do the children seem happy?
- Is the provider warm, friendly, and patient? Does the provider hold the children in a loving and caring manner?
- Does the provider play with, listen to, talk with, and encourage children to express themselves?
- Does the provider understand a child’s different stages of development?
- Are the children encouraged to learn to get along and respect each other?
- Does the provider respond quickly to children’s needs?
- Are the provider’s ideas about raising children like yours?
- Are there enough staff members to give children one-on-one attention?
- Is there a posted, written schedule that shows a balanced, daily routine?
- Are there active/quiet times, outdoor/indoor play times, with different activities for all ages?
- Is there time for children to work as a group and time for children to be alone?
- Can the schedule be changed to meet your child’s needs and moods on any given day?
- Are boys and girls equally encouraged to take part in activities?
- Are the values of the program in line with your values?
- Can parents drop in at any time without calling first?
- Are parents involved in making some decisions?
- Can parents speak with the provider when they drop off and pick up children?
- Can parents meet with the provider often?
Care for Infants
- Is there a quiet place for a baby to sleep?
- Do providers respond to crying babies in a caring way?
- Do infants have space and freedom to play, climb, and crawl?
- Are diapers changed often and in a clean area? Do staff members wash their hands after each diaper is changed?
- Are babies fed when they want to eat and held when they’re fed?
Care for School-Aged Children
- Are children safely moved to and from school?
- Are children allowed to play the way they want after school is over?
- Do children have space and time to do homework?
Final Things to Think About
- Do parents of other children in the program say good things about it?
- Would you be happy there if you were a child?
- Do you feel comfortable leaving your child there?
This checklist has been adapted from materials developed by The Family & Workplace Connection.