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Choosing Child Care - Know the Right Questions to Ask

When parents decide to enroll their child in child care, the decision can be quite challenging. However, the choice will be easier if parents are confident that the providers are well trained, experienced and professional, and that the provider has created a safe environment for children, according to William Endres, chief operating officer for Kiddie Academy International. Therefore, it is important to take time to research, visit and ask the right questions.

"There are dozens of questions one can ask a child care provider, but there are key areas that should be on the top of that list," Endres said. "It's not only about choosing the right child care facility; it's about choosing the best care to fit your child's needs, to help him or her reach his or her potential, and to develop a life long love of learning."

Endres offers the following advice:

Tour the Facility: A walk-through of the facility will help parents make a more educated and confident decision when choosing a day care provider for their child. While touring a facility, parents should consider the following questions:

  • Is the atmosphere warm and welcoming?

  • Are the facilities and toys cleaned regularly?

  • Does the facility appear well-maintained and safe?

  • What are the planned procedures in the event of an emergency?

  • Is there emergency information posted?

  • Are staff members trained in CPR and first-aid?

  • Are the entrances to the building secured?

  • Do teachers always know how many children are in their care?

Meet the Staff: The staff will be spending a lot of time with your child, so it is important that you meet them and understand their qualifications as well as training requirements. Find out how long your child’s teacher has worked in the child care field, and ask about background checks. Are teachers required to participate in ongoing professional development programs to ensure that their child will receive the best care possible both educationally and developmentally?

Check the Teacher-Child Ratios: Each staff member should be responsible for a certain number of children. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the recommended ratio is one staff member for three to five small children and one staff member for seven to 10 older children. To find out the guidelines in your state, visit the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care’s Web site at http://nrc.uchsc.edu/STATES/states.htm.

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