(Closed) Questions to ask at a daycare facility

posted 8 years ago in Babies
Post # 3
2638 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2006

Interesting. We had a list similar to this, but we were interviewing in-home daycare providers. The one we ended up choosing covered all of these questions AND MORE in a binder. When she asked if I had any questions I sat there twiddling my thumbs because she’d beat me to the punch on every single thing. That’s how I knew we found the right place!

I’d ask about days that they are closed. Usually for facilities, it’s almost never, but with in-home it was good to know. Some people want to take up to FIVE WEEKS paid. Anyway, here’s my list, I deleted most of the duplicates:

What is included in the weekly cost? That is, will we supply all formula, diapers, and wipes? When the child is older, are meals and snacks provided?

What is the policy on sick days/vacation time? How soon in advance do you need to know about our vacation? Are we still responsible for the cost of the days our child is absent?

What kind of time off do you take? That is, holidays, travel with family, sick days etc.

How flexible are you with drop-off and pickup times? Are there any times of the day that are “quiet times” and we cannot drop off or pick up? Is there a fee for being late (e.g., $10 for the first five minutes, a dollar for every minute after that, etc.?)

Are there any out-of-facility activities planned for during the day? How do you transport?

Is there an outdoor play area?

What is meal-time like for toddlers? What foods are served?

What is your approach to potty training? (I know it’s way early but I know some providers that won’t allow kids to go diaper-free until they are 100% capable of going potty in a toilet on their own. How are kids supposed to get to 100% if they are only training on nights and weekends?!)

Can you give us an example of a time when a child needed to be disciplined and how you handled it?

What do you expect from us as parents? What kind of communication do you have with parents re: how the child’s day went?

Could we have the name of two references?

Post # 5
1501 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I’m commenting so I can follow this, these are some good questions.

Post # 6
1474 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

Commenting to follow πŸ™‚

Post # 7
83 posts
Worker bee

I would ask if my child would be in the same room all day. Before I worked in public school I worked in child care and depending on the number of kids and teachers that day, kids would be moved from room to room to cut back on teacher labor. It’s an awful practice because it doesn’t give kids an opportunity to adjust to a schedule.

I see you’re asking about ratios but I would ask if those ratios are ever doubled. I had 4 and 5 year olds and my ratio was 1:14 which sounds great, however, I always had 28 kids with an assistant with a ratio of 2:28. I don’t know where you’re from but in Ohio the ratio for infants is 1:5 but it could be doubled to 2:10 which is a lot of babies in one room. I never felt like the kids got the individual attention they deserved.

Post # 8
40 posts
  • Wedding: September 2012

I would ask about hygiene. Like will they wipe your child’s nose when they have a cold (you might think they would, cause who wouldn’t, but one girl at a place told us that they have to get gloves on before they can wipe the kids nose – so half the time my daughter came home with dried snot on her face). Do they dis-infect the toys? how often? with what? How often do they themselves wash their hands? – germs can pass pretty quick in daycare, and while most parents understand that kids get sick and you can’t keep them in a bubble forever, it’s still nice to know that they are trying to prevent germs from spreading.

I would also ask about whether they record the daily activities for you. These could include what they ate, how much they ate, what they did. And also, I like to know about bowel movements. This lets me know if there is something I should be concerned about in case they aren’t having enough or maybe too many. Also ask if they are able to put cream on sores in that area if there are problems.


Post # 9
9079 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Interesting list. The only one I can really question is the dropped breastmilk one. What would you expect them to do? Unless there was extra milk provided, they’d have to resort to formula and if you’re not okay with that, I don’t know what the solution would be.

Good list though, good questions, especially about the sick children.

Post # 11
1675 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

Good list, but a couple more.

I’d ask WHERE the outside time is spent – some daycares go to a nice park, and others just have a slide in their parking lot. 

Ratios – everywhere that I have seen doubles the ratio – 1:10 becomes 2:20, which is much more chaotic.

I’d ask about labelling things – what needs to get labelled. 

Post # 12
1470 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

Something I would suggest to all moms looking for a daycare is to contact the state regarding the facility. At least in our state, all inspections on a facility are public record and available on-line. Any complaints that were substantiated should also be public record. That also ensures that your facility/provider is actually licensed (some say they are but aren’t–unlikely to be a problem with big centers, more likely to be an at-home problem). 

Post # 13
1401 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I used to work in daycare so these are some things that we had in place and I’m a social worker now and I don’t trust anyone… making it difficult for me to find a daycare provider!

How do they warm up breast milk? It’s supposed to be warmed up in an seperate container or area than formula

How often do they check/change diapers? Standard proceedure it every 2 hours and the kids are supposed to be changed even if it’s a dry diaper

What type of curriculum to they have? Do they sing songs to the babie, talk to them about colors? Do tummy time?

How do people enter your facility? Is it locked and is someone always up front or can just anyone walk in?

Ratios are important! Where I worked the infant ratio was something like 1:3 or 1:5 and then it goes up slightly as they get older.

Also you should be able to contact your state license office to see if they have any reports. The state keeps a record of any incidents or reports that are reported to them. It’s public record for any licensed facility.

If I think of anything else I’ll add more!

Post # 14
480 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2015

I am studying a Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood) and am a relieving teacher at a centre, and it is so awesome that you have prepared all of these questions! I think those are all really important things to ask. I also think these are important:

Ratios (excluding floating teachers/ non contact time teachers?

Average staff turnover rates? How long have all of the teachers been there?

What security measures are in place?

Number of Qualified/Registered teachers?

Number of teachers who have first aid training & valid first aid certificate?

Their teaching philosophy – ask them what philosophy they follow – eg. RIE, Reggio, Steiner etc.?

Their behaviour management policies: how do they discipline the children and deal with challenging behaviours?

Whether they prepare the lunches/ have children bring in lunch boxes, and if so what their policies are regarding lunch boxes?

What items are banned from the centre (eg, guns, violent characters etc)?

What are their methods of observing, documenting special events etc (learning stories, portfolios etc)?

Are nappies/ formula provided?

What are their excursion policies?

Do they use walkers, jolly jumpers, high chairs etc?

Do they use food stuffs as resources (this is to see if you agree/disagree with it)?

Are they a religious centre (eg, Christian)?

What do they do for Christmas, Easter etc (ask to see equity policy)?

How do they incorporate biculturalism or other ethnicities?

How often do they do evacuation drills?

What is their daily routine?

How do they transition children into the centre/ into the over 2’s area (if they have one)?

How do they encourage parent involvement?

Would they allow for you and your child to visit a few times before your child starts attending by themselves?

And ask to see the following :

Nappy Changing chart

Fence charts/ outdoor area charts

Sleep room chart (ask how often it is checked)

Accident/injury register

All of the centres policies/ philosophies

Copy of any regulatory documents (eg, regulations, licensing criterias, curriculum etc)

Ask to see a childs portfolio

The role/ sign in sign out booklet

Child protection policy

Education review reports 

Ask for a full tour of the premises

Post # 15
1476 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I’ve worked in childcare for years. There’s always teachers there who shouldn’t be. Be sure to contact the state for all potential day cares to see if there’s anything funny going on there. Also, talk to other parents there while visiting to see how they like the center. AND, if you EVER see any sort of abuse ALWAYS report it to the state as well as the director of the center.

Post # 16
1476 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

double post

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