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10 Questions for Day Care Providers When Searching for the Right Center

Every family has their different needs that shape their journey for the perfect day care center. You’ll want your child to find their new home away from home – a place that is nurturing, in alignment with your parenting philosophy, and most importantly fun. These are our top ten questions for day care providers during your tour

1. What is your philosophy on childcare? 

A good place to start is to know the day care’s philosophy. There are many different approaches to early childhood education, the most popular being Waldorf, Reggio-Emilia, Montessori, or a blend of multiple. 

Ensure that the philosophy of the day care provider works with you and your child care needs. Do some research on their website, jot down any arising questions, and ask them during your tour. Regardless of the day care’s philosophy, a high quality preschool should provide a varied curriculum, a balanced blend of free play and structured activities, a daily routine, and thought out discipline strategies to guide your child in the right direction. 

The philosophy of a center will decide the classroom structure and the curriculum. Some centers have mixed-age groups, some have children grouped by their stage of development. Some centers emphasize self-directed learning, while others have more teacher-guided activities. 

Kids’ Care Club takes a whole-child academic approach that blends elements of many different philosophies. Our teachers encourage students to come up with their own ideas, and are encouraged to explore them individually and in small groups. Preschool teachers create a classroom environment equipped with activities to support their learning of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), early literacy, and social-emotional skills all at their own pace. All of our preschool programs are divided by age. 

2. What is your approach to Discipline? 

Whether you’re a teacher, parent, or caregiver for children, you have experienced a child that engages in negative behavior. The type of philosophy that your daycare uses may direct their approach to discipline, but a tour is the perfect time to clarify and be on the same page on how your child will be positively reinforced or instructed. Are time-outs used? How do teachers deal with children hitting, biting, or throwing items? 

Kids’ Care Club’s philosophy on discipline includes using positive reinforcement and redirection of negative behavior. If a child engages in negative behavior, Kids’ Care Club teachers will redirect them into engaging in an alternative activity. For example, harmful stimulation based behaviors should be replaced to express them in a safe way. An example is a child who feels the need to climb can be given safe places to do, say a small “mountain” of pillows, rather than on a table. 

 Each individual child is given positive reinforcement throughout the day. As children progress into our Pre-K/TK class, we use Second Step to teach children emotional regulation skills to manage their feelings, make friends, and solve problems. 

3. What is a typical day like? 

The main difference between different types of day care providers are their curriculum and daily structure. For example, a center-based child care may have a set curriculum that outlines what children are learning, while an in-home day care center can have a more free-play approach to learning. Asking what a typical day like can give you a stronger sense of what your child will learn and do on a day-to-day basis. We recommend the following questions: 

  • What does a typical day look like? 
  • How often do children play outside? What’s the balance between child-guided free play or teacher-instructed activities?
  • When is drop off and pick up? 
  • Is there a nap schedule that is followed? 
  • Is there a weekly learning plan? 

Each day here at Kids’ Care Club looks a little different based on the theme of a given week, but follows a consistent rhythm to provide the necessary structure to bolster your child’s development. We invite you to explore what a typical day looks like in our various classrooms: Infants, Toddlers, Two-Year-Olds, Preschool, Pre-K/TK

4. What are your rates? 

You may have already vetted the daycare center you’re touring for cost, but it’s an important subject to be discussed in person. After all, tuition costs typically change on a yearly basis, and each center has their own unique extra fees. Additionally, ask your center if they have a waitlist, and what a holding deposit is to secure a spot for your child.

Here at Kids’ Care Club, tuition is based upon age and if a child is in full or part-time attendance. We invite all of our parents to schedule a tour to discuss tuition with our center directors in person! 

5. What are the Staff Qualifications and Turnover 

Ensure that your child’s future teachers are sufficiently qualified and suit for the role. Licensed facilities, such as at-home and center-based programs, dictate the minimum early childhood education units that staff members must have. More importantly than a teacher’s educational background is the attitude and energy they bring to the classroom each and every day. Are they positive and nurturing towards the children? Are they eager to build a relationship with parents to support your child’s learning both in the center and at home? 

Staff Qualifications ensure that a teacher understands the educational requirements for the classroom. Staff-to-child ratios, on the other hand, can determine the quality of interactions, allowing classrooms to have enough educators for adequate supervision of children. Low ratios can enrich your child’s learning experience with the ability to create tailored educational experiences.

Lastly, staff turnover is an important indicator of the strength of a program. Not only is it a reflection of the workplace environment, but it’s also been shown to impact language and social development. Make sure to learn more during your tour.

Kids’ Care Club recognizes that the strength of our program comes from a commitment to excellence on behalf of our staff. We select our staff on the basis of educational background, teaching experience, and personal qualities. Many of our teachers have been with Kids’ Care Club for more than 5 years, with all of our admin staff being with KCC for over 15 years. We encourage and support our teachers through triannual staff development days and funded education to continue their journey as an early childhood educator.  

6. Are you licensed and/or accredited by NAEYC?

By choosing a licensed facility, you can know your child is in a safe environment. Here in California, all child care facilities and family child care providers are required to be licensed. Licensing Program Analysts (LPAs) ensure a safe center upon initial inspection, and continuously through random, unannounced visits. Licensing also dictates that staff are adequately qualified in terms of Early Childhood Education, as well as each classroom’s teacher-to-child ratio. 

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), on the other hand, is the largest nonprofit association in the US that represents early childhood education teachers and administrators, families, and policy makers. A NAEYC accredited center demonstrates a preschool’s long-term commitment to meeting 10 strict, high-quality standards, ensuring high-quality early learning for all young children. Of the more than 80,000 child care centers operating in the United States, only about 7% have earned this accreditation. 

Kids’ Care Club is a center-based child development facility that has been licensed since opening in 1994. We are proud to be accredited by NAEYC, which demonstrates our commitment to the highest quality early childhood education for your children. 

7. What health and safety measures do you take for your center? 

Each center should have strict protocol to ensure the health and safety of all staff and children. A licensed day care provider must follow a strict set of health and safety measures to ensure that children are in a safe environment. Ask questions about your center’s licensing history and question how issues were addressed, as it is public information. . 

During your tour, pay attention to both indoor and outdoor environments, addressing any concerns that arise. Some questions you can keep in the back of your mind include: 

  • Is it clean and in compliance with safety standards? 
  • Does the teacher-to-child ratio allow proper supervision? 
  • Does the school have a secure method for checking in and checking out children?
  • Is the facility well-ventilated and a comfortable temperature? 
  • Are toys and structures sanitized regularly? 
  • What steps does the center take against allergies?
  • What happens if a child comes to school sick, or becomes sick at school?

Kids’ Care Club has been a center-based licensed preschool facility since opening in 1996. Health and safety of your child is our number one priority. 

8. How is daily communication with parents handled? 

Daily communication looks different at every day care, but building positive parent-teacher relationships should be a top priority. Research shows that positive family involvement with their preschool greatly contributes to a child’s academic success, allowing teachers to better communicate the needs of their child and extend the learning to home. Today, it is standard for day care providers to provide daily, regular communication with parents. 

KCC teachers provide daily reports with parents through the Learning Genie app. These daily reports include photos of your child, links to songs and books used in class, important reminders, updates on daily activities in the classroom, and developmental portfolios for each child. Desired Results for Children and Families are semiannual assessments that teachers provide for parents to reflect on the learning, development, and progress of their children. These reports are then discussed in parent involvement meetings, where your child’s progress is discussed. 

9. What happens if we’re late to pick-up or need to miss a day due to vacation or illness? 

We all run late, get sick, and take vacations. A tour is the perfect time to learn about any additional fees or procedures associated with late fees, or what missing a day due to vacation or illness means. For example, Kids’ Care Club is not equipped to handle ill children, and all children that exhibit symptoms, listed below, must remain out of the center. To return to the center, the children must be symptom free for a 24 hour period prior to returning. Learn more about our health and safety measures here.  

10. Is Food Provided? 

Does the preschool you are touring serve meals and snacks, or are you responsible for providing your child’s food for the day? If you are seeking care for an infant, how does the school store breast milk, prepare formula, and/or match your feeding schedule? How does the school handle allergies? These are important questions that come to mind. Healthy habits surrounding food are crucial for your child, and it’s important to be on the same page for your kiddo’s early years. 

Apart from our infant classroom, Kids’ Care Club provides both a complimentary morning and afternoon snack free of charge. If you prefer to not pack a lunch, KCC provides hot lunch for your child at a fee. Explore the options that are served by viewing our KCC menu. If you’re little one is entering our infant class, we are excited to collaborate with you to ensure your child gets their nutrition in a way that meets their specific needs on their schedule. 

Due to choking/allergy concerns, we ask that the following items are not brought into our school:  hot dogs, popcorn, hard pretzels, raw peas, raw carrots, and nuts of any kind.

And, you’re ready!

You’re equipped with the questions we find most helpful here at KCC. You’re ready to cover your bases during your tour and find your new home away from home. Don’t feel discouraged if you don’t find the perfect center right away, it’s all part of the process. We wish you luck, and always welcome you to schedule a tour at one of our KCC locations today.