Choosing a Childcare CenterParent Connection.

Making an Educated Decision

Choosing the right childcare center can be one of the most important decisions that you will have to make. When it is time for you to return to work, whether he/she is still an infant or toddler, you want to make sure that he/she is well cared for in your absence. With all of the different philosophies, curriculums, and approaches to learning, choosing the right childcare center can seem a bit overwhelming. To eliminate some of your stress, you can follow the steps below to make the process as smooth as possible.

Start Early

Finding the right Center can definitely take some time.

Make a List of What is Important

Is distance a factor? Are hours important? These are just some of the questions that you may want to consider.

Research Your Possibilities

Start by asking friends, family, doctors, and referral agencies that they would recommend. Explore the internet and phone book for more options.

Call the Centers and Ask Preliminary Questions

Questions that you should ask are hours, fees, policies, ratios, activities, teacher credentials, and their overall philosophy on teaching. Always remember to write down the answers to your questions and pay close attention to the initial feelings of the conversation.

Narrow Down Your List

Based on the answers to your questions and your initial feelings, cross off centers that you did not like.

Plan a Visit

While visiting the center be sure to observe its warmth, safety, and cleanliness. Pay close attention to the interactions of the teachers with the children and how engaged the children are in their activities. Talk to the teachers and ask questions. Ask some of the same questions that you asked on the telephone interview just to verify what you were told. Most important, go with your gut!

Narrow Down Your List Again and Start Checking References

Contact parents of children who are currently enrolled at the center or parents of children who were enrolled there in the past.

Introduce Your Child to the Center

Take your child to the center for a visit. During this time, observe how your child acts in the environment and around the teachers.

Once you find the childcare center that meets or exceeds your expectations, enroll your child.