Choosing a Child Care Program

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Finding the right child care program for your child takes time.  There are many things to think about when looking for child care.  Following is a list of things to consider when visiting and evaluating a child care program. 

Child Indicators:

  • Children in the program are happy.
  • Children are engaged in activities.
  • Children are comforted when needed.

Program Specifics:

  • The caregiver greets each child and family at the beginning and end of each day.
  • The program offers a variety of activities and toys for children of all ages.
  • Meals, snacks and beverages provided by the program are nutritious.
  • There is a balance of active, quiet, indoor and outdoor play based on the abilities and interests of the children.

Discipline Indicators:

  • The program should have a written discipline policy that is given to each parent.
  • The provider sets reasonable limits for children.
  • Children are encouraged to get along with others and given gentle reminders when they are not.
  • The caregiver helps children talk about their feelings.
  • Children are encouraged to use their words.

Health and Safety Indicators:

  • The program is childproofed.
  • Dangerous materials are stored out of the reach of children.
  • Electrical outlets are covered.
  • Children and caregivers wash their hands frequently, especially before eating and after toileting.
  • Diapers are changed at appropriate intervals.
  • There is a plan in place for emergencies such as fire, flood or injuries.
  • The space and toys are cleaned and disinfected regularly.
  • A working phone is available.

Child: Staff Ratio and Group Size

A child care program must limit the number of children each adult cares for based on standards set in the regulations.  These standards help to ensure that children are properly supervised and get all the attention they need. Ask to see the program's license or registration.  The license or registration, issued by the Office of Children and Family Services, states how many children the provider can care for at one time. For more information on staff ratio and group size see Child Care Options.

Fees:

Experience/References:

  • The caregiver should provide references when asked.
  • Do caregivers come and go? Leaving your child with the same caregiver everyday makes it easier for your child to focus on learning new things.
  • Ask your caregiver about what trainings they have taken or plan to take. Caregivers with education and training in early childhood may be better able to help children learn.
  • Does the program have accreditation?  Accredited programs have met voluntary standards for child care that are higher then most state licensing requirements.
  • Does the caregiver have a Child Development Associate (CDA)?

Family Involvement:

As a parent you have the right to drop in at any time during business hours to observe the program or to see your child.  Talk to the caregiver every day.  Ask how your child is doing and how he/she spends their day. If possible, spend time at the program.  Volunteer to read aloud to the children or participate in activities. Check out this issue of the Daily Parent: Parent-Caregiver Communication.

For more information:

To view and print the As You Think About Child Care checklist click here.

Kieran's Law allows parents and guardian of children to access New York State criminal history information.  Kieran's Law applies only to caregivers who will be providing child care in the child's home for 15 hours or more per week.  For more information on Kieran's Law click here.

Contact a Day Care Specialist Monday-Friday, 8am-4pm at:
Delaware Opportunities Inc
Child Care Resource & Referral
35430 State Hwy. 10
Hamden, NY 13782
607-746-1620
Toll free: 877-746-2279
Fax: 607-746-1648
Email: daycare@delawareopportunities.org