How to evaluate child care providers and settings

For a child of any age

  • Is there a primary caregiver assigned to my child and do all caretakers communicate for consistent care?
  • Does the provider know typical child development? Will the provider respect my child’s individuality?
  • Will the provider work closely with my family to develop a partnership?
  • Can I visit my child at any time during the day?
  • Can I volunteer to help in some way?
  • What group size is followed; does it meet state and local regulations?
  • Are our family relationships nurtured and our culture and routines supported?
  • Is there a daily schedule of activities including playtime and quiet time?
  • Are toys and equipment safe and cleaned regularly?
  • Is proper hand-washing taught and used to prevent spread of illness?
  • Is the program regulated?
  • Is the program license posted and current?
  • Is the area appealing with comfortable lighting and an acceptable noise level?
  • Are toys and materials well organized and accessible to the children?
  • Can the caregiver and the environment accommodate the special needs of my child?

For an infant/toddler

  • Is the primary caregiver someone who cares for my child during daily routines?
  • Does the provider know typical infant/toddler development?
  • Will he/she frequently talk to my infant using simple words?
  • Will she/he work closely with my family, providing daily written reports of my child’s progress?
  • Is proper hand-washing taught and used at diapering and frequently throughout the day?
  • Are sanitation procedures posted in each area and followed daily?
  • Does the environment offer quite spaces for rest and soft spaces for exploring?

For a school age child

  • Is the provider someone who interacts positively with children?
  • Is the provider someone who offers a variety of age specific activities?
  • Are there opportunities for children to expand their knowledge by exploring topics of interest?
  • Is there space for free play, group play, and individual activities?
  • Is there a flexible schedule allowing children to choose from a variety of experiences?
  • Is there supervision that allows children to develop independence and be safe too?
  • Is there a daily schedule posted for you to see?
  • Is the discipline policy similar to yours?
  • What is the staff/child ratio?
  • Are you welcome to visit at any time?
  • Are there activities that foster a positive self-image?