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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 successful?



Sara Gable, Ph.D., Human Development and Family Studies, College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia



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Last update: Thursday, October 27, 2005




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