4 Tips for Selecting a Good Daycare

September 27, 2016

From the desk of Shani Snell, Early Childhood Education Department Head at Community Care College.

Your children are your most valuable possession and choosing a high-quality daycare is so important for their safety, development and well-being.  Whether you choose a child-care center or in-home care, there are some basic things you should look for during your search. 

The Environment: Both indoor and outdoor. This is probably the easiest thing to do and any quality daycare center will realize that first impressions are very important.  

  • Is it well-kept, clean and safe?   
  • Do you see any items that may be safety hazards such as stairways, electrical outlets, open water, or items that need repairs?  
  • Are there check-in procedures for parents or visitors?

The Curriculum: A majority of centers in Oklahoma use “The Creative Curriculum” or “HighScope” curriculum but there are many other choices in ECE curriculum.  

  • What type of educational curriculum do they use or what teaching philosophy guides their teaching/activity choices?
  • Ask what type of curriculum they use and then research that particular curriculum to see if this is the best fit for your child.

The Teachers: Do they look happy and excited to be there?  This can tell you a lot.  The best ECE teachers love what they do. Some centers will require HS diplomas or GEDs to be a classroom teacher whereas others may require a bachelor degree to be a lead teacher. 

  • Are they required to have a degree or certification to work at the center?
  • Ask the center/owner what they require.

The Reviews: Go online and read the reviews for this center or simply ask friends and family to suggest daycare providers.  Websites such as http://www.oklahomachildcare.org or http://www.okdhs.org/childcare are great places to start searching for daycare providers/centers and obtain more information on their licensing and case files. The following website provides many of the basic information for the larger providers as well as recent inspection report histories: http://childcarecenter.us/oklahoma/tulsa_ok_childcare.  

Although there are many other things to consider when choosing a daycare, this list will help to begin your process and narrow down your choices. Choosing a daycare is no small decision and requires careful thought and research.  Take a look at this detailed guide to help make your selection process easier.

At Community Care College we are proud to be educating Early Childcare Education professionals. If you or someone you know is interested in entering this field, take a look at our competitive program.

35 thoughts on “4 Tips for Selecting a Good Daycare”

  1. I’m looking for a daycare for my son. Thanks for the advice about how you should get a daycare that does both inside and outside activities. Another thing to consider is to get a daycare that works with your schedule.

  2. I agree that a good daycare will have a clean and safe indoor and outdoor environment. You also suggest looking for any potential safety hazards such as electrical outlets and stairwells. I think that daycares should have a video surveillance for parents to access so that they can check in on their kids when they want.

  3. I like that the article mentions the teachers’ attitude. Do they appear tired and worn out? This might be because they are overrun. They might be expected to take care of more children than they are physically capable. It might be smart to look for a daycare that has enough teachers to keep up with the class size.

  4. I really like your tip about making sure that the teachers look excited to be there! That is something that we will be sure to keep in mind while we are searching for a daycare place for our kids. We are really excited to find a place for our kids so thank you so much for sharing!

  5. I agree that you would want to consider the environment of a daycare before you send your child there. The best way to do this is probably to visit it in person. I’m looking for a daycare for my daughter while I’m at work so I’ll have to choose somewhere with a good atmosphere.

  6. My wife and I have been trying to find the right daycare for our kids for a while now, but we weren’t sure how to find the right one. It’s interesting that you say to make sure that they take care of all of the safety hazards. It would be nice to know that you won’t have to worry about the kids getting hurt in the end.

  7. I agree that you need to consider the educational curriculum of a daycare before you choose them. It would seem that you would want to find somewhere that has a good level of education for you and your child. I’m looking for a daycare for my son while I’m at work so I’ll have to find somewhere that has a curriculum that I agree with.

  8. I do like that you encourage readers to look into the daycare’s curriculum when choosing one. After all, your child isn’t only going there to play. You want to make sure that they can at least learn a few basic things to prepare them for kindergarten.

  9. I agree that it is important to pay attention to the type of curriculum offered when looking for a daycare. It makes sense that doing this can help you know if it is the right one for your child and if they will learn from it. I would want to make sure I do my homework and consult with several companies in order to find one that has great online reviews and that have the best procedures in place to take care of their children.

  10. I agree that you would want to consider the environment of a daycare before you send your child there. The best way to do this is probably to visit it in person. I’m looking for a daycare for my daughter while I’m at work so I’ll have to choose somewhere with a good atmosphere.

  11. Thanks for the tips for choosing a daycare. My wife and I have been trying to find the right daycare for our son, but we haven’t had much luck. I like that you mentioned that the teachers should seem happy and excited about their jobs. I only want enthusiastic people teaching my kid. I will definitely keep an eye out for this.

  12. Thank you for talking about how you can go online to read reviews when looking for a good childcare center. It makes sense that doing this can help you consider several places at the same time and see what other people have to say about them. We are planning on ending our little girl to a daycare as soon as she is old enough and want to make sure it is the best place for her so I’m glad I found your article.

  13. I totally agree with you in that it is always a good idea to research the curriculum a day care center uses to make sure it is the best one for your kids. It is important to remember that doing this can help you rest assured knowing your child is getting the best education they can get in your area. Our son will be ready to attend a daycare in a few months and we want to make sure we choose the best one for him and our schedule, so I’m glad I found your post.

  14. I appreciate the tip to look for things such as open water and electrical outlets when considering the environment of a daycare. My daughter is getting to the age where she could attend daycare, so my wife and I will have to keep an eye out for safe conditions. Happy teachers are also something we would really like for our daughter’s experience.

  15. It’s interesting to look at the teachers to see if they are happy to be there. I’d imagine that it would affect the kids if their teachers were grumpy or not excited. I’ll remember to look at the grown-ups when I look at child care centers for my daughter.

  16. My favorite tip you provided was to ask people I know for recommendations on a good childcare center. My wife just recently started working, and we think it would be best to send our daughter to childcare during my wife’s working hours. How many recommendations would you suggest we get before making a decision?

    1. Thank you for your comments, Earnest. I would ask trusted friends or coworkers and get at least 3-5 recommendations. These can vary so widely but you may soon notice a certain center being mentioned numerous times. This is a good sign!

  17. I absolutely love that you talked about figuring out if the teachers look happy and excited to be there. One of my cousins is looking to take her boy to child care while she’s working and wants tips. I’ll be sure to talk to her about paying extra attention to what the teachers are like.

    1. Absolutely! The teachers set the mood of the classroom. If they are not happy in the classroom or center, chances are your child will sense this and be unhappy as well. Good luck to your cousin in her search and thank you for the comments!

  18. I like your advice to find a daycare with teachers who are happy and excited so that you can be sure they love what they do. Since it’s almost time for me to go back to work, I am wondering how to find the best daycare to keep my son at. I will definitely have to find a center with happy teachers so I can be sure they love what they’re doing.

    1. Ashley, thank you for your feedback. We’re glad we could help you find somewhere you are comfortable and your son will enjoy.

  19. I agree that you need to read a few different reviews when choosing childcare. It would be good to consider this because it would ensure that they are qualified dan able to provide you with the best care. I’m looking for a childcare service for my son while I’m at work, so I’ll have to consider their reviews first.

  20. I like how you said that the daycare center you choose should have good online reviews and that is well recommended by others. I also like how you said that they should have educated and happy teachers. My parents are looking into daycare centers for our daughter since my husband and I are so busy. We want her to have great teachers and a good experience.

  21. I’m about to go back to my job and have been trying to figure out the best daycare in the area for my son. I like how you said to check out the curriculum and what are their teachings and activity choices they have for the kids. This is something I’ll definitely have to look into as I’m choosing a daycare center.

  22. My sister is sending her child to a daycare center for the first time next year. As early as now, she is searching for a good daycare in her neighborhood just to be prepared. It will really help her find a good one after I share this article with her. My favorite part was when you said that parents can tell if it has good teachers if they look like they are happy to be there because if they love what they do, it will show. Thanks!

  23. There has been sufficient research over the years demonstrating the negative impact of day care on children. Here are just a few negative facts about day care from a website called Day Care

  24. I totally agree with you in that it is important to find a child care center that is kept clean. It is important to understand that looking for a place like this can help your child stay healthy. We just moved to a new house and need to find a good place for our kid to learn.

  25. My sister is looking for a child care program for her little boy and asked me to help her look. I am glad that I saw this article and learned that one of the factors to consider is the teacher and that I should check whether or not they look happy with what they are doing. I can imagine how productive a person is if she loves what she is doing, so I will definitely consider this. Thank you!

  26. I recently got a full-time job and I need to find a quality child care center for my son. You make a great point that you should think first about the environment and I will make sure to tour the facility. I want to make sure that they have an indoor and outdoor space for the kids to play. Also, I will make sure that the facility is clean and that the staff is friendly and professional. This will give me peace of mind that they will take good care of my son.

  27. My wife and I want to enroll our son in daycare next year, so thanks for these tips. I like your point about making sure the environment is clean and safe. We’ll be sure to tour a few locations to make sure everything looks good.

  28. Thank you for pointing out that a good daycare center will understand that first impressions are important and so they will pay attention to the indoor and outdoor look of the place. If the place is clean, then it is also sure that my daughter is safe from germs and other contaminants that can affect her health. Because of this, I will consider choosing a clean daycare center. After all, she is already sickly as she is.

  29. You make a good point to look at the teachers to see if they like their job or not as that can affect your child when they go to a daycare center. My son is two years old now and my parents are moving away, so I’m looking for a place to take him to while I’m at work. I’ll have to visit a few centers so I can meet and talk with the teachers to make sure I use a center that the teachers really like working with the children so my son will have a good time.

  30. I want to find the best daycare center I can find for my kids. I agree that finding one that has a good curriculum is important. You should consider what activities they will provide and their philosophy, like you mentioned.