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How to choose a daycare

When choosing a daycare, it is important to pay special attention to what is happening at the daycare during your visit. These criteria will help you determine which daycare center is right for you.

1.    STAFF

  • How do they treat the children?
  • Are they patient with the kids?
  • Are there enough staff members on duty to support the developmental and emotional needs of the children?
  • Do they discuss your child with you?
  • What experience and training do they have in working with children?
  • And last but not least – do they get down to the height of your child to greet him/her? – It is after all your child that’s the client, not you!

2.    FACILITY

  • Are the indoor and outdoor areas and equipment safe and sturdy?  
  • Do they have soft sand under the jungle gym, in case of a fall?
  • Does it have orderly, clean work areas?
  • Are the rooms airy, well-lit and attractive with bright colours?
  • Does it have sanitary bathrooms and diaper-changing areas?

3.    HEALTH AND SAFETY

  • Are the room temperatures comfortable?
  • Are the furniture safe and child friendly, e.g. rounded table corners?
  • Are the play material non-toxic and toys generally in a good condition with no small parts lying around?
  • Is a first-aid kit visible?
  • Do they offer healthy snacks and/or meals?
  • What is the process for dropping off and picking up your child?
  • Is the kitchen area clean?
  • Is hand washing practiced?
  • Are there separate cribs for infants and separate cots/mats for others?
  • Are cleaning materials and medicines kept safely out of reach of children?

4.    PROGRAM

  • Is there a proper child-staff ratio?
  • Do they allow and encourage creative play?
  • Are there plenty of play and educational materials?
  • Is there an organized schedule or program?
  • Do they allow enough free play?
  • Is there supervised rest time?
  • Is TV time kept to a minimum and supervised?
  • Do they read stories to the kids?
  • Are any special programs or enrichment opportunities available, e.g. Monkeynastix?  
  • Are there field trips or do kids remain in the center at all times (some centers take kids on trips and others' don't and parents seem mixed on their preference)?

5.    GENERAL

  • Are the rules clearly explained to the kids?
  • How is good behaviour encouraged and appropriate discipline practised?
  • Ask other parents if there is anything that is bothering them.
  • Are children allowed to get dirty naturally through play?
  • Are any children left out?
  • Do you see laughing, caring, sharing, and generally happy children?
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