Choosing the right daycare for your children may seem like a daunting task. Every family has different things that are important to them when it comes to childcare, which means there’s no one perfect childcare center for everyone.
Asking a few questions can help you determine the best daycare center for your family’s needs, so check out our list of questions we recommend every parent ask when daycare shopping.
5 Questions To Ask Every Daycare Center
1) What Are Your Tuition Costs and Fees?
One of the first things to compare when choosing between multiple daycare centers is their tuition costs and fees. These can vary wildly from one center to another, and while the cheapest childcare may not be the way you want to go—the quality of care and cost can go hand-in-hand—you also may not want to pay an exorbitant amount for childcare.
So make sure you compare tuition costs and other fees that each daycare center you are researching charges.
2) Do You Have a Waiting List?
This should be one of the very first questions you ask when you start to call daycare centers. Oftentimes child-to-teacher ratios in their classrooms may be maxed out, meaning any new kids would need to be put on a waitlist until one of the spaces in their child’s age-appropriate classroom opens up.
This means you wouldn’t be able to enroll your child right away, so asking this question at the beginning of your conversation with a childcare director can give you a lot of clarity as far as continuing to make your plan and do your daycare research.
3) What’s Your Accreditation?
Childcare centers are required to have a state license to operate, and each individual state has different licensing requirements. These licenses require daycare centers to maintain certain standards that are for the benefit of the children they care for, so making sure the childcare center you choose has the required accreditation can help give you peace of mind that your child is going to be well taken care of.
You can see your particular state’s licensing requirements at the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education.
4) How Many Children Are in Each Classroom?
Part of state licensing requirements is that there are a maximum amount of children to each teacher in a classroom to ensure that there is adequate care for each child and the teachers aren’t spread too thin trying to take care of a large number of children on their own.
Asking a daycare center how many children and teachers they put to a classroom will give you a good idea of how the classroom runs as well as the kind of childcare philosophy a center may have. For example, some centers may have one more teacher than needed for the number of children in the classroom to ensure extra care of each child.
So always remember to ask what their child-to-teacher ratio is in their classrooms.
5) What Is Your Approach to Childcare?
This ties in a bit to our last point—there are many different childcare philosophies, and this factor is probably the thing that makes each daycare center unique.
Some daycare centers may be centered around supervised play. Some incorporate daily lessons and encourage age-appropriate learning. Some operate like a school for tiny people, taking the learning experience to another level with curriculum and lesson plans. Some are much more structured and others are more free-spirited.
Whether a childcare center’s approach is relaxed, structured, crunchy, or conservative, understanding a childcare center’s philosophy can help you find a place that aligns with your ideals for your child.
While these aren’t the only questions you can ask when interviewing different childcare centers, they are a great place to start! The answers you get to these questions will give you the insight you need to make the right decision for your child!