Know how to choose a quality child care center

Published on Thursday, 28 September 2017 13:57 - Written by PATRICE DUNAGIN, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Choosing a child care center is one of the most important decisions you will make for your child. Before selecting a center, visit the site to observe and ask questions. Here are a few things to look for:

Are the teachers:

- Warm?

- Affectionate?

- Responsible?

- Safety-conscious?

- Trustworthy?

- Experienced?

- Enthusiastic?

Observe the classroom environment. Look for:

- Variety of play materials.

- Large supply of play materials.

- Different learning centers.

- Quiet areas in rooms.

- Bright atmosphere.

- Cleanliness.

Look for safety hazards. Observe the playground. Look for:

- Large area of green grass for running and playing.

- Safe equipment.

- Variety of play items.

- High fence surrounding the playground.

Questions to ask the director and teachers concerning educational development:

- Do Children have large segments of time for free play?

- Do children go outside at least twice a day?

- Do teachers give five- to 10-minute reminders before a new activity begins?

- Do teachers make routine activities (hand-washing, eating, diaper changes) fun and educational?

- Do teachers use an educational curriculum for planning activities and monitoring the development of children?

- What is the teacher-to-child ratio?

- What is the total group size per classroom?

You will have other important questions also. If a site doesn’t seem to fit your child, then continue to investigate other centers. Talk to friends about the center where they leave their child. Continue your search until you find the right one for your child.

For more information, contact Patrice Dunagin, Smith County FCS agent for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, at 903-590-2980.