The most important step in your search for a quality early care and education or school-age child care program is to VISIT at least three programs and look for clues that show each program’s quality. Tour the program and observe the children and the staff. Ask questions — about the staff and children, about safety and health issues, and about the setting and programming.
Questions to ask are as follows:
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?
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?