A checklist to help you during your child care search!

Use the following checklist to keep track of the answers you receive during your search for quality programs. You may need to make additional notes as you ask questions. 


 

SETTING:

Do children have a place to store personal belongings?

Are toys on low shelves within reach of infants, toddlers and preschoolers?

Are the furnishings the right size for the ages of the children in care?

Is the children’s work displayed at their eye level?

Are there science or sensory activities that encourage the children to experiment and observe?

Does indoor and outdoor equipment (such as low slides, push/pull toys and low climbing equipment) promote physical activity?

Is there sufficient floor space in infant classrooms for cribs, and for infants to crawl and engage in nurturing activities?

Are learning centers and planned activities available outside?

Are there activity areas that allow for different types of play (such as a housekeeping area, cozy book corner, art area, blocks, etc.)?

Is the program accessible to and does it meet the needs of children with disabilities?

 


PROGRAMMING

Are learning goals set for each child?

Is there a curriculum that is followed?

Are infant activities (such as play, meals or napping) individualized?

Is a daily record kept on feeding, naps and diaper changes?

Is the children’s work creative and individualized as opposed to looking the same?

Is there a variety of clean, developmentally-appropriate materials and equipment for the children, both indoors and outdoors?

Are there strollers or buggies to make outdoor visits easier?

Is there a variety of toys?

Are duplicates of toys available?

Is there a CD player? 


HEALTH & SAFETY 

Are nutritious snacks and meals planned and served? Is there a menu posted for parents?

Does the program encourage vigorous play and plan physical activities that help children maintain healthy weight?

Are foods, bottles and medicines labeled with child’s name and date and stored safely and appropriately?

Is there a staff member trained in first aid/CPR at the facility at all times? Is there a first aid kit?

Do staff follow health precautions such as using gloves and washing their hands and children’s hands frequently?

Are the toys cleaned daily or as needed?

Can the diaper-changing surface be easily cleaned?

Are there clean and easily accessible bathrooms?

Is the outdoor play area fenced?

Are the children able to move between indoor and outdoor play areas safely and without difficulty?

Are the program’s indoor and outdoor areas safe, free from hazards, and large enough for easy movement?

Are there separate outdoor areas for infants that include a variety of safe equipment?

Are safety gates used properly?

Are electrical plugs and radiators covered or protected?

Are there smoke and carbon monoxide detectors?

Are fire drills conducted on a monthly basis?


THE CHILDREN

Are the children allowed to select learning/play activities and toys by themselves?

Can the children choose not to participate in the activities?

Do the children have the opportunity to develop self-help skills as they grow, such as zipping, buttoning and tying shoes?

Are the children encouraged to solve problems constructively?

Do the children appear actively involved and interested? 


STAFF

Does a staff member greet children warmly when they arrive?

Do staff seem to like and relate well to the children, to families and to each other?

Do staff use a warm and pleasant tone of voice with the children?

Do staff welcome questions and share information with families?

Do staff discipline the children in a caring, consistent and calm manner?

Do staff encourage the children to talk to teachers and one another?

Do staff respond to children’s individual needs and do they provide one-on-one attention?

Do staff encourage self-help and independence?

Are staff actively involved with the children (i.e. on the floor with the infants)?

Are staff members required to have special training in early education and child development?

Is there an in-service training program and/or other opportunities for continuous staff training?

Does your child’s prospective teacher/provider have a degree from a college or university?

Have the majority of staff members worked at the program for more than two years?

Has your child’s prospective teacher/provider been there for more than two years?

Is the staff diverse?

Do staff accept and respect cultural differences?


 ACTIVITIES

Are the planned activities appropriate for the ages and developmental stages of the children?

Are activities planned that help children express ideas and learn about the real world?

Do books, materials and artwork reflect cultural diversity?

Are daily activity plans posted and followed?

Does the program support early literacy by integrating appropriate activities into children’s play?

Do activity plans provide for active and quiet play? 1 2 3 Does the activity plan include an opportunity for music, fingerplays, books, art activities and outside play?

Is there an opportunity for large group, small group and individual activities?

Do activities encourage children to solve problems and think creatively?

Are children talked to, read to, and sung to by adults?

Do activities give children opportunities to learn new physical skills?

Are children taken outdoors daily, if weather permits?

Does the program schedule field trips and have written procedures? 


 

 PROGRAM POLICIES

Does the program have a written statement that describes its philosophy, and are you comfortable with it?

Does the program have a parent handbook with policies on discipline, illness, medicine and accidents?

Does the program keep records on children and their development? 1 2 3 Does the child/staff ratio meet state standards?

Is the group size small enough so that children do not seem overwhelmed?

Is there a safe sleep policy?

Are there staff benefits (i.e. sick leave)?

Is there a plan for substitutes when staff are sick or on vacation?

Does the program have a policy on toilet learning?

Does the program have a plan for when a child is bitten?

Does the program have policies/procedures in case of accidents, injuries or emergencies?

Does the program have a plan and resources for children with special needs?

Are children’s families allowed to visit at any time? Is there an “open door” policy?

Are family members actively involved in the program (i.e. as members of an “advisory committee” or through teacher conferences)?

Does the program offer children’s accident insurance?