Looking for and finding childcare has to be one of the biggest stresses of motherhood. I remember looking for a program for my daughter when she was a baby and being so overwhelmed with horror stories of home daycare plans gone wrong, daycare being too focused on the bottom line and not focused on nurturing my kid while I was away working for 8+ hours a day, judgement from stay at home moms, do I find a school for my 9 month old or a program focused on play??? The list could go on. I was stressed out. I luckily found a program for her that I loved and she was there from 18 months until she graduated Pre K. I am now a stay at home mom, but I remember the stress because it's similar to when I am interviewing a new babysitter for date night, or looking for a drop in care situation for my son when I have a meeting and need to have somewhere I trust that he can go for a few hours. As parents, there is nothing more important to us than the health and safety of our children but we also want them to enjoy their days and experience joy when we can't be there. I have put together a list of things you should be asking when touring a new center for your kids, whether that be an in home center or a center like Foundations Learning Academy, in Hilliard. The director Susan, helped me come up with this list so that you can be informed when taking your tours, and a few questions to ask yourself after visiting the center.
What would an average day look like for my child?
Is your staff trained in CPR, First Aid, Communicable Disease and Child Abuse?
Are babies placed on their back to sleep and do you follow other safe sleep practices to reduce the risk of SIDS?
Do you feed babies on demand or by schedule?
What's the caregiver-child ratio in each group?
Do you follow a curriculum?
How much outside play time is scheduled for the day? What is your cold weather policy in terms of outside play?
How much time is scheduled for open play?
Are your teachers trained in Sign Language? *This question is specifically helpful for the infant classrooms.
What is the protocol for a sick child?
What is your disciplinary policy?
What is your illness policy?
What is your staff turnover rate?
What is your potty training policy?
What is your disaster plan? Do you have procedures for fires, earthquakes, intruders and other emergencies?
What is the release policy?
What is the weekly tuition?
Are meals included in the weekly tuition?
When are payments due?
Is there a late payment fee?
What is the visitation policy? Is there an open door policy for parents?
Do you provide daily sheets, so I can see how my child ate, slept, and more?
What does security look like here?
What are the qualifications of the teachers?
Be sure to ask yourself the following questions after your visit:
Did the staff and children seem engaged and happy?
Did the caregivers cuddle the babies?
Was their tone friendly and caring?
Were crying children responded to immediately?
Was the center a warm, welcoming safe environment?
Were the teachers able to answer all of your questions?
Do I feel comfortable with this center? * Trust your gut! You will know immediately if the center gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling or you feel something is just off.
You can download the FREE printable here to take with you on all your tours!
***This post is sponsored by Foundations Learning Academy but all thoughts and opinions remain my own.