A List of Must-Ask Questions Before Selecting A Childcare Provider
Settling on the type of childcare that’s best suited for you and your family can be a challenge. From home day cares to day care centers, in-home nannies to relatives or friends, and preschools and Montessori, the options are many and you may need to do quite a bit of research into the differences before selecting which of these types of childcare you prefer. But the real fun (insert rolling eye emoji) is in selecting the actual program or school your child will attend.
After you’ve scoured the internet, tapped friends and family for recommendations, and have set up appointments and tours, it is imperative that you arrive fully prepared to ask the questions that will yield the most important and useful information. Remember, no question is too intrusive, nitpicky or ridiculous. We’re talking about entrusting strangers with the care of your child; nothing should be off limits. Sheeeiiitttt, if I could, I would require a DNA sample and fingerprints, but since they tell me that is not allowed, this list is the next best thing. No matter the type of childcare you’ve settled on, these questions should help you in narrowing down the field of options.
LICENSING & QUALIFICATIONS
- How long have you been in operation?
- What type of licenses and/or accreditations do you have and are they current?
- What type of education and training do the teachers and staff have?
- Do you perform background checks on the staff?
- Are all of your staff trained in CPR and first aid?
- What is the curriculum and teaching method? (e.g. encourage independent play, group play, free-form, directed lessons, etc.)
- What would the average day for my child look like?
- What is the teacher turnover rate?
- What is the teacher to student ratio?
- How many students are in the program and/or each class?
- Is there space available for my child at this time?
- How diverse is the student population?
- How diverse is the staff?
- What type of experience and/or training have teachers and staff received to prepare them to work with culturally diverse students?
- How do you discipline the children?
- How do you comfort the children?
- What is the protocol in case of an emergency, such as earthquake, fire, or intruder?
- Do the children ever leave campus for fieldtrips?
- Do the children watch television or movies while in your care and if so, how often and for how long each time?
- What, if any, immunization shots are required before my child can attend?
- If needed, who administers medication during school hours?
- Do you need a doctor’s note and instructions for both prescribed and over the counter medication?
- Do you receive personal visitors not associated with the day care during hours of operation?
PAYMENT & ATTENDANCE
- What is the cost of the program?
- What are acceptable methods of payment?
- What is your billing schedule? (e.g. weekly, monthly, annually)
- Will I still be billed for days my child is absent due to illness or family vacation?
- What is the attendance policy?
- Do you offer part-time attendance options?
- Under what circumstances are make-up days available?
- What is the sick child policy?
- What symptoms must a child exhibit before you send them home?
- How long must symptoms be resolved before allowing the child to return?
- What are your hours and days of operation?
- What is your holiday schedule?
- Are pick up and drop off times flexible?
- Is there a fee if the child is picked up late?
MEALS, DIAPERS & NAPS
- Do you provide meals or snacks?
- If so, what type of food do you provide?
- What is my child expected to bring?
- What is the meal/snack schedule?
- Do you have a fridge or microwave that can be used for my child’s food?
- Do you assist in feeding children who are not yet completely self sufficient?
- Is this a nut-free school?
- Do I need to provide diapers and wipes?
- How often do you check to see if a child needs their diaper changed?
- Does staff wash their hands before and after each diaper change?
- Do I need to provide an extra set of clothing in case of accidents?
- Is there a class that specifically focuses on potty training?
- If so, what is your potty training method?
- When and where do the children take naps?
- Do you allow them to wake up on their own or do you wake them up after a certain time?
- Do you provide mattresses for the children?
- Does my child need to bring his or her own sheet and blanket?
- Do you lay babies on their back for nap time?
COMMUNICATION & SAFETY
- How will you communicate with me regarding administrative issues?
- Do you provide daily reports on each child’s day?
- Can I visit my child during school hours and if so, may it be unannounced or must it be scheduled?
- What measures do you have in place to ensure my child’s safety during school hours?
- Do you have security cameras, keyless entry, fingerprinting entry, 2 way mirrors, working fire and carbon monoxide alarms, security alarms, fire extinguishers, etc.?
- Do you maintain a list of those who have my permission to pick up my child from school and if so, how do you verify that the person is in fact who they say they are?
- Are the facilities safeguarded and age appropriate?
- How often are the toys wiped down and replaced?
- What is expected of me as the parent?
We hope this list will help you in finding the perfect fit for you and your child. Happy childcare hunting!
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