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                    DAYCARE CHECKLIST
                  Interview questions to ask a daycare or preschool

Family Daycare Checklist or Center Based Care Interview Checklist
Use these questions to guide you in your search for the right family daycare or preschool center.
The more time you can devote, the better. Find a center who shares your same philosophies and beliefs.
Basics: A good daycare has been in business for a while and has solid, up-to-date credentials, clear rules and regulations, and firm policies on operating hours, pickup and drop-off times, and when children are too sick to attend.


Checklist-Childcare Interview Questions:

Name:

Center:

Address/Phone:

 
*Do you have space for my child? Yes / No

*If not, can we get on a waiting list, and how long is it?  

*What are your hours?

*What is your holiday schedule?

*What other days is the center closed?

*How flexible are you with pickup and drop-off times?


*What are your fees?

*Is there a late pickup fee?

*How and when do you bill?

*Do you encourage visits from parents? Yes / No

*What do you expect from me as a parent?

Staff: Employees should be educated, with at least two years of college, a background in early childhood development (though many states don't require this), and CPR and other emergency training. Caregivers should be responsible, enthusiastic, and well-prepared, sharing your philosophies on key childrearing issues such as sleep, discipline, and feeding. A center with good staff benefits is likely to have less teacher turnover, which means consistent care for your child.
*How long does the average staff member stay at the center?

Size: Look for a center with small groups of children and plenty of staff. The ratio of caregivers to children varies, depending on group size.
How are the kids grouped? Mixed age / Grouped age
What is your teacher-child ratio in each group?
Activities: A good daycare center will have a well-thought-out curriculum with a variety of activities. The program should be changed regularly so children don't get bored and have a chance to learn new skills. TV and videos should play little, if any, part in the day's schedule.
*What is your educational philosophy?

*How do you discipline a child?

*How do you comfort a child?  

*What will my child be doing on any given day? What about extracurricular activities?
 
*What role, if any, does television have at the center?


Hygiene and Safety: A good center is clean and sanitary and observes basic safety rules. If you see poorly maintained equipment or the center seems dingy and cramped, keep looking. Do caregivers wash their hands after diapering and feeding?
Do you have a sign-in and sign-out sheet? Are the doors secure so strangers can't just walk in?  What is your sick-child policy?
Do you have a safe enclosed outside play area?
Food and Sleep: Obviously, nutritious meals and snacks are better than junk food. Make sure the center covers all four food groups. For sleeping, bedding should be fresh and firm (to reduce the risk of Sids for babies) and nap areas should be clean and quiet.
*Do you provide lunch and snacks? Yes / No

*If yes, what kind?

I*f not, what kind of food should I bring for my child?

*Are babies fed on demand or on a schedule?

*Where do the children sleep?

*Do you have a nap schedule?

*Do you have a place for nursing moms to visit and breastfeed?


Additional considerations: Be sure to take a moment to ask yourself the following questions when you visit.
*Do the staff and children seem happy and engaged? Yes / No

*Are crying babies responded to immediately? Yes / No

*Is the center clean and pleasant?
 
*While you're at work, will you feel at ease knowing your child is in this setting?


References: Ask each daycare you're considering for a list of past and present references, and call them. Ask specific questions (don't ask whether they like the center; ask what exactly they like about it and what they don't). If their child is no longer there, ask why.
Could you recommend families I can call for references?
Name_____________________________ Phone#_____________________________
Name_____________________________ Phone#_____________________________


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