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How to Choose a Daycare for Your Angel

“I have had the privilege of giving tours to parents for over 20 years and it is always the best way to inform you and educate you about what you should be looking for in childcare” (Angie, Angelic Treasures CEO). This article will help you at whichever centre or home care you choose. Do keep in mind that you are making a very serious decision and it is often underscored or underestimated. You are leaving your child at a daycare for most of the day, five days a week. The centre and staff will be the main caregivers because their hours will outlast yours.

In choosing the right childcare you will be making a commitment of at least three years. With your child developing in all areas so quickly during these formative years, you want to be assured that they are being nurtured in all areas of development. Most parents start their search before the baby arrives and place themselves on waitlists. This is a good time to tour the centers as you will be busy for a while when the new baby arrives.

We will look at: Preparation, Processes and Other Information

Preparation

You will undoubtedly do a considerable amount of research in order to find the right daycare. Equip yourself with basic knowledge about what you are looking for and gather questions to further decipher whether it is a good fit for you and your family.

Ask yourself:
  1. Will I need full-time or part-time care?
  2. Do I want home care or centre-based care for my baby or babies?
  3. Is it more important for the daycare to be close to my home, work or grandparent’s home?
  4. Do I need a special curriculum, education, faith-based? What is important to me?
Processes

Now that you have list of prospective centres or home-care, make your calls for appointments and start visiting. This is such a fun time and from this point of contact you may start making your decision.

Who answered the phone and were they informative, helpful and courteous? Did you get an appointment or are you able to drop in?

Now you are on site either at the childcare centre or homecare.

Questions should be relatively the same.

  1. Who is the owner / operator?
  2. What are the hours of operation?
  3. Does their curriculum follow How does learning happen and is it play based?
  4. Sick days and vacation days paid or unpaid (parent handbook with all policies)?
  5. Do they have Fee Subsidy?
  6. Qualifications of staff and Supervisor, length of employment, staff turnover?
  7. Staff meetings and staff photos posted?
  8. Is staff First-Aid and CPR certified?
  9. Emergency and evacuation sites?
  10. Licensing (centre) how often – any non-compliances
    1.  Ratios and are there any groups at beginning of day and end of day
    2.  For home care limit is 5 children without a license
  11. Health Clearance – Pass sign outside
  12. Food cooked on premise (view posted menu) or catered (view posted menu)
    1. Tour of kitchen – Is there a commercial sanitizer for toys and a proper laundry room?
    2. Is the menu signed off by a dietitian?
    3. Does the cook has Food Handlers as well as Supervisor and is current
  13. Classrooms:
    1. Are activities set up age-appropriate?
    2. Is the room inviting?
    3. Do children have cubbies with their names on them?
    4. Is art work displayed neatly in the classroom?
    5. Are teachers engaged with the children?
    6. Are cribs and cots readily visible and in good order?
    7. Are program planners posted for indoor and outdoor activities & signed by Supervisor?
    8. Depending on age – are daily reports about meals, toileting/diapering/sleep provided?
    9. Is the outdoor space clean with a shed for toy storage?
    10. Is there a transition plan for children to go out and come in?
    11. How often do they sanitize toys? (Should be the following: for infants twice a day / toddler once a day/ preschool once a week or more if needed)
  14. When was their last Inspection of the outdoor play area and how often are they inspected?
  15. What are the registration fees and do they have a schedule of when fees are due? Are you allowed to
  16. be given time off for vacations? Sick policies? What are their procedures for illnesses and disease?
  17. Medical plans for children with special needs? (All of this is usually found in the parent handbook)
  18. What are their policies on allergies?
  19. What happens in case of an emergency? What are their procedures for lock down in case of emergency?

Other information:

  • Nutrition for infants and toddlers – Do they allow bottles and soothers?
  • Transitioning into the programs and out of them (when they move them up)
  • Do they have a parent portal for communicating each individual child’s milestones and stories?
  • Are there cameras and online surveillance?
  • Closures – (parent handbook)
  • Extra activities – Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Family Picnic, Christmas Concert,
  • Celebration of Easter and Christmas
  • Do they go on Field Trips? Do they have graduation ceremonies for preschool?

If you require additional help or have questions about this article, please email us at