A Solo Mom shares what she looks for when choosing a day-care provider
The most important aspect of choosing a day-care provider is whether the provider is a good match for you and your child. Some families thrive with a large center, while others prefer an in-home setting with only a few children in the provider’s care. Either way, there are certain questions you should ask when visiting the provider.
- Ask about licensing. All day-care providers have to comply with state and local licensing requirements. Ask to see certification documents and the results of the licensing agencies’ last visit. While securing a license does not guarantee a provider will perform perfectly, it does show the provider is complying with basic regulations and there are no glaring issues.
- Ask about the adult-to-child ratio. You should only expect a one-to-one ratio between child and staff if your child is an infant under 12 months of age. For one-year-olds, the ideal ratio is 1:3; for two- and three-year-olds, it is 1:5; for three- and four-year-olds, it is 1:7; and for five-year-olds, it is 1:15.
- Ask about the facility’s philosophy on discipline. How do they respond when children who act out? Are their practices and philosophy in line with your beliefs?
- Ask about education. Does the center have a curriculum in place or follow a certain philosophy? Do they use an informal style of learning or conduct structured lessons?
- Ask if you can drop in when you choose. A provider should be open to random parent observations, with the possible exception of nap time.
After you’ve done your homework, go with your gut. If you aren’t comfortable with a provider or a facility, but can’t quite put your finger on why, don’t doubt yourself. Move on to the next licensed provider on your list; your instincts can be an important guide.
Photo Credit: By Airman 1st Class Hunter Brady [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Anne Spollen lives happily as a Solo Mom to three kids and works as an author, a writer, and a college teacher.
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