Child Care & Early Education Center Visit Checklist

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Choosing the best program for your child is an exciting and important decision. It sets the stage for the first five years of development and all that comes next. As you explore options and visit different centers, reference this guide — created by parents and early childhood educators — to help you choose a safe, enriching environment and high-quality learning experience for your child.

Learning and development

  • What are the learning philosophies and research behind the curriculum?
  • How are progress and development assessed and documented for each child?
  • Do the curriculum and teaching methods align with research about school and future ready skills?
  • Is the program accredited or working toward external accreditation of any kind?
  • Are babies introduced to basic sign language to communicate their needs?
  • How do you foster children’s independence and self-help skills?
  • How is social-emotional learning built into the program?
  • Are children given daily time to play outdoors?
  • How do teachers address challenging behaviors?
  • What guidelines are in place to supervise technology use?
  • Are children happily and busily engaged in interesting and diverse activities and projects? 
  • Do children have choices between individual and small-group activities, both inside the classroom and outdoors?
  • Do you see displays of what the children are doing and learning?
  • What kinds of books and materials are in the classroom? How are they chosen?
  • Are there dedicated spaces for activities such as STEM, art, and movement?


  • Are teachers offered ongoing professional development opportunities?
  • Do teachers have access to benefits?
  • Do teachers have access to high-quality, affordable programs that allow them to continue their education?
  • How do teachers create inclusive and joyful classroom communities?
  • Do teachers interact with children in caring, respectful, and positive ways?
  • How do teachers manage a wide range of skills and abilities in one classroom?
  • Do children have a consistent group of primary teachers?

Family support

  • Do you offer parent conferences and progress updates/portfolios?
  • How many days is the center closed throughout the year?
  • Are there any currently enrolled families willing to speak about the center?
  • How do you prepare families for their first day?
  • Will I get daily communication about my child’s day?
  • Are there opportunities for parents to meet each other and build a community (e.g., events, parent groups, classroom volunteers, etc.)?
  • What resources are available to support parenting education and learning at home? 

Health, safety, and wellness

  • Can infant families provide breast milk? Can it be frozen?
  • How is milk and formula labeled? Does the center have a secure entrance?
  • Are schedules adapted to children’s eating and sleeping routines?
  • What are the drop-off and pick-up procedures?
  • How do staff and educators stay current with health and security practices? 
  • Do teachers have the required training and certification in CPR and first aid?
  • How are food allergies handled?
  • Are surfaces disinfected throughout the day and at closing?
  • Are children taught good hygiene practices in an age-appropriate way?

Ready to see it in action? Schedule a visit at your local Bright Horizons centers today.

Bright Horizons
About the Author
Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons
In 1986, our founders saw that child care was an enormous obstacle for working parents. On-site centers became one way we responded to help employees – and organizations -- work better. Today we offer child care, elder care, and help for education and careers -- tools used by more than 1,000 of the world’s top employers and that power many of the world's best brands
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