Before school, After school childcare, Child care Programs
10 Questions to ask prospective child care providers:
- What is the relationship between the childcare center and the schools in the district?
- Can you speak with other families who use the center to ask about their experiences?
- What accreditations does the center have?
- What is the staff-to-child ratio? Ratio regulations vary by state, but generally are 15-to-20 elementary age children for every one staff member and 10-to-12 to one for preschool and kindergarten programs.
- Who are the staff members? Quality programs should have highly competent staff members who understand child development and can plan age-appropriate activities.
- Are activities recreationally or educationally based? Experts say activities should be engaging and offer opportunities to gain a variety of skills in problem solving and critical thinking.
- What’s the cost? Some programs charge for just the days your child attends, while others charge by the week. Some provide scholarships or discounts based on need.
- If the program isn’t in your child’s school, what are the transportation arrangements? Find out the driver’s background, the type of vehicle used and if pick-up and drop-off sites are supervised.
- What is the sign-in/sign-out procedure? It’s important that the program spell out who is responsible for delivering your child to the program and who is allowed to pick him or her up — and whether a photo ID is required. Also, ask about playground supervision and bathroom trips.
- Is breakfast available before school? Are snacks available after? Some programs offer food for the children; others allow or require parents to bring their own.