What is high-quality child care?

Staff Development

Child care providers with more early childhood education and experience can provide a child with a more enriching child care experience and are more sensitive in the relationships they establish with children.

Program Standards

There are many impacts on your child’s daily environment, such as:

  • the number of children with each child care provider,
  • age appropriate activities to participate in each day,
  • rooms that are big enough for the children to easily move around in, and
  • good health practices for both teachers

Asking questions and observing will provide more information about the program’s daily routine.

Getting Started

Start Early

Start looking as far in advance as you can. No matter what type of care you are considering, a child care center or family child care home, finding the right child care option can take some time.

Visit and Ask Questions

Call to see if you can visit the center in person, or if they prefer, a virtual visit.

Prepare a list of questions. Here are some suggestions:

  • What type of education does your staff have?
  • Does your staff participate in continuing education?
  • How do you handle nap time?
  • What kind of flexibility do you have to accommodate a baby’s natural schedule regarding eating habits and diapering needs?
  • How do you discipline children?
  • How do you handle homework for school–age children?
  • How will you communicate with me about my child’s day?
  • What is your policy for caring for children’s medical needs?
  • When are fees due?
  • Is there a charge if I am late?
  • Do you accept child care subsidy?
  • Do you provide any discounts?

Create a Checklist

Make a checklist of things to look for when you visit. Here are some suggestions:

Do you see the Division of Child Development Star Rated License posted in a visible location?
Is the overall atmosphere bright, cheerful, and child-focused, without being overwhelming?
Do you notice caregivers/teachers really listening to children and families?
Does the child care program encourage you to drop in and visit at any time?
Is the schedule of daily activities posted and current?
Are learning materials and toys sufficient, safe, clean, and within reach of all children?
Are there enough developmentally appropriate toys for the number of children?
Is there a fenced area for outdoor play?
Can the caregivers/teachers see the entire play area at all times?
Do learning materials, books, and pictures reflect diversity, including children with special needs?
Are events and information shared regularly with families?
If you were a child, would you want to spend time here?
The downloadable version of this checklist.