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Checklist for Parents Choosing Childcare

Step One

Step Two

  • Arrange a visit and tour of each facility.

Step Three

At minimum, compare the facilities on the following criteria:

  • Does the facility have an up-to-date license?
  • Is it clean?
  • What are the hours the center is open?
  • Is there a limit on the number of hours your child can attend during the hours of operation?
  • Is there enough space for the children to play safely?
  • Is there enough furniture and play equipment for all of the children?
  • Is all equipment in good repair and age appropriate?
  • Are dangerous materials and solutions safely out of reach?
  • Is there a safety monitoring system in place?
  • Does the director observe the rooms on a regular basis?
  • Is there an adequate fire safety system in place including alarms, sprinklers, and alternate exits?
  • Is there adequate heating, cooling, lighting and ventilation in place?
  • Are the meals and snacks provided? If so are they nutritious, age appropriate, and served on time?
  • Are the physical, emotional and intellectual needs of the children met by the staff?
  • Are the children able to spend time with their friends and alone throughout the day?
  • Is there time spent outdoors when weather permits?
  • Is the staff exposed to continuing education so they can grow professionally.
  • Are there regular communications between parents, children, staff and directors?
  • What are the centers' philosophies on discipline and do they correleate with your own?
  • Spend time with your child at the center to become comfortable with the experience your child will have.

Step Four

  • Check with the appropriate agency that monitors childcare providers in your area to be sure the centers you are considering are performing at a level acceptable to you.

Step Five

  • Share your findings with other parents considering the same childcare centers. Browse to the specific childcare center pages at and write a review.