Having a set of daycare tour questions handy will help you narrow down your options and choose the best place for your child and your family. Every parent is different — you’ll determine whatever combination of daycare tour questions will be helpful for you — but here are nine essential ideas to help you get started creating your own list.
9 Important Daycare Tour QuestionsIs there a waiting list?
If so, ask how to get on the daycare waiting list. If you plan on enrolling right after maternity leave, many experts recommend arranging care for your baby before the end of your second trimester. Waitlists can be long (nine to 12 months in some cities), so be sure to plan ahead.
What is the daycare’s approach to discipline?
Some parents consider this one of the most important daycare tour questions. First, think about what’s acceptable to you, and what you deem inappropriate. Are there “punishments,” or are there simply consequences for bad behavior? Do teachers encourage children to talk about their feelings and resolve conflicts with their peers? Does discipline differ by the age of the child?
How are children comforted when they’re upset or when there’s a disagreement?
An early learning center should give your child the tools they need to build social-emotional skills and a foundation for future success. Is social-emotional learning part of the curriculum? Do the teachers make it a priority to talk about emotions and build strong relationships? Does each classroom have a comfortable/cozy area where children can go when they need to relax?
How experienced are the teachers?
Ask how many years of child care experience each staff member has; ask about their early education degrees and/or certifications. How long have they worked at the center? Are they trained in CPR and first aid?
What is the teacher-to-child ratio?
The lower the ratio, the more time and one-on-one attention each individual child receives.
Are classroom materials and activities age-appropriate?
Take a look at all of the classrooms; see how they differ as children get older. In the infant classroom, you’ll likely see soft spaces full of sensory-rich objects; toddlers should have many different areas to explore — art, blocks/building, dramatic play, and more; and in preschool and kindergarten prep, you’ll want to see ready-for-school materials that encourage reading, writing, math, and other skills.
What does the curriculum include?
An educational daycare should have a curriculum designed for every age and stage that supports all areas of development. If curriculum is included in your daycare tour questions, be sure to ask whether it includes things like reading, science, art, math, movement, support for social-emotional and problem-solving skills, and more. Plus, ask about lesson plans — are they created based on the children’s interests or do they follow a set schedule?
Are snacks and meals provided?
If so, what do they include? Is healthy eating a priority? If they’re not provided, what should you pack for your child’s lunch and snacks? Do you have to stay away from certain items, such as nut-based products? This is all definitely good to know in advance.
Will you get daily updates?
Last, but certainly not least – another important daycare tour question relates to daily updates — will you be notified when your child achieves a significant developmental milestone? Will you be kept up-to-date on diapers/potty time, meals, nap time, and the day’s happenings? Will you receive pictures and/or videos throughout the day?
Of course, there are plenty of other daycare tour questions that you might want to ask. How does the program handle late pickups? Are any holidays celebrated? What are the health and safety policies? Does the facility have functioning security cameras?
Be sure to ask everything that’s on your mind — it’s another great way to tell just how high-quality the program is, and getting answers will help you feel more comfortable and choose the best environment for your child.