Touring a daycare?

Top questions to ask

Word of mouth recommendations

To get the most insight from word of mouth recommendations, ask the person to rate the school along the following parameters, on a 1-10 scale:

  • Management
  • Staff
  • Responsiveness
  • Care quality
  • Curriculum quality
  • Cleanliness
  • Drop-off & pick-up
  • Meals

Atmosphere

  • Does the facility look clean? Does it smell clean? How loud is it inside?
  • Are the restrooms clean and sanitary?
  • Are the classrooms free of clutter and neatly organized?

Classrooms

  • How many kids will be in my child’s classroom?
  • What is the teacher:child ratio for my child’s age group?
  • What toys and learning materials will my child have access to?

Communication w. parents

  • Do parents receive photo updates during the day?
  • Are day sheets provided in a written or electronic format? If electronic, which app is used?

Drop-off & Pick-up

  • What time is drop-off and pick-up?
  • What are the drop-off and pick-up procedures?
  • What time is early drop-off and late pick-up? What is the fee for this service?

Daily schedule

  • What will be my child’s daily schedule (play time, learning, eating, resting)?
  • When during the day will my child be taken outside? For how long?

Holiday schedule

  • On which days during the school year will the facility be closed?
  • How many parent / teacher conferences are scheduled per school year?

Meals

  • Does the school offer a meal plan? Which meals are included? How much is the plan?
  • How does the school manage children with food allergies or dietary restrictions?

Management / staff

  • How long has the facility director been with the school?
  • Over the past 5 years, how many facility directors has the school employed?
  • Over the previous 2 years, what percentage of the staff has turned over?

Safety & Security

  • What percentage of caregivers have first aid certifications?
  • Which of the following background checks are administered prior to employment: criminal history, fingerprints, child abuse and neglect registry, sex offender registry

Licensing

  • What is the school’s current enrollment?
  • What is the school’s licensed enrollment capacity?
  • What age groups is the facility licensed to serve (min age / max age)?

Enrollment

  • Are part-time enrollment options available?
  • Is there currently a waitlist? If yes, when is the next opening for my child’s age-group?
  • How much advance notice does the school require to terminate enrollment?

Don’t forget to grab ...

  • Enrollment Application, along with any other registration forms
  • Tuition & Fees Schedule, showing all service-related expenses
  • Parent Handbook, detailing center’s policies & procedures
  • Child Day Sheet, showing which activities are tracked throughout the day
  • Menu, with description of meals served

Last but not least...

  • Does the facility host a Parent Day Out?
  • Is the service open to prospective families?