When I visit a potential child care
program, what should I look for?
To begin, look closely at the actual facility. Do you see:
- Enough toys and learning materials to keep the children happy and busy?
- Covered electrical outlets?
- Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers?
- Safety gates protecting stairs and unsafe rooms?
- Fire and tornado escape plans?
- Emergency phone numbers near the telephone?
- Cleaning supplies and harmful substances securely stored?
- Clean and fenced outdoor play area?
- Soap and paper towels at the children's sinks?
- Caregivers washing hands after diapering and toileting children?
- Patient and cheerful caregivers?
- Healthy and happy children busy at play?
- Children eating nutritious snacks and meals?
Spend time watching the caregivers interact with the children. Do you see caregivers:
- Smiling at children?
- Talking in ways that children understand?
- Showing children a positive attitude?
- Showing children that they care about them?
- Taking care of crying children?
- Helping children understand how they feel?
- Answering children's questions?
- Encouraging the children to get along with each other?
- Helping children learn from daily routines?
- Creating moments for children to learn new things in a fun way?
- Helping children handle failure and learn ways to be
Sara Gable, Ph.D., Human Development and Family Studies, College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia
Last update: Thursday, October 27, 2005