10 Questions to Ask When Touring a Preschool or Child Care Center

When the time comes for your child to go to preschool or daycare, you might have a lot of worries–and a lot of questions, too. From wondering if your kid will be safe (or even if he’ll eat his salami sammy at lunchtime), it can be a stressful time for parents. Knowing what questions to ask when touring a preschool or child care center can help ease your worries and create a better learning environment for your little one. Jaclyn Carnazza, owner and director of Kids Connect in Monvtille, NJ, offers her tips on how parents can make the difficult decision of who to trust watching and educating their beloved babies.

1. Does the school use a research-based curriculum that is appropriate for both infants/toddlers and preschool aged children?

Your child’s education is of the utmost importance. And as such, you should definitely inquire as to the school’s standards for its curriculum. Understanding its teaching principles can help you create a connection between home and school wherein you can continue what your child is taught outside the classroom.

2. How does the program share information about activities and lessons being taught in the classroom so parents can reinforce at home?

Learning doesn’t stop once your child leaves preschool or a child care center. To maximize your child’s education, find out from her teacher about specific programs that are being instructed. It might even just be knowing what the letter of the week is so that you can help your child identify it at home, too.

3. What is the education level of the staff?

The teachers and staff who are going to be with your child should be academically qualified to offer instruction. Although you might feel awkward asking, you should definitely find out what their education level is so that you know your child will receive the best instruction possible.

4. Is there regular communication between the staff and parents? If so, how is the information communicated (e-mail, text, phone calls, etc.)?

Communication between you and the staff is critical when it comes to the well-being of your child. You might find that the school has a call/email/text policy, but be sure to know what their preferred method of communication is. And above all, make sure that the school has all of your current and updated information so that they can get in touch with you if need be.

5. What measures does the school take to provide a safe and secure environment?

Sadly, with the rise in school shootings, you can’t automatically assume that your child will be safe in school. That’s why it’s important to find out what safety policies the school or day care center has in place in case of an emergency. This information should be easily accessible to you should you need it.

6. Can warm and positive teacher-child interactions and conversations be observed in the classroom?

School or daycare should be an extension of the environment you’ve created at home. That means that there should be good communication–and cuddles, too. When you go to the school’s open house, observe how the staff interact with the children. Do they bend down to speak with your child, and do they encourage conversation? All of this can offer some insight into how your child will be treated.

7. How are the children grouped together while the school provides for varying ages?

Your goal is for your child to learn while she’s at preschool or a child care center. But if your kid is 3 and is with a bunch of babies, it might impede her learning. Find out how kids are grouped together so that your child receives age-appropriate instruction.

8. Are the staff and children washing their hands before meals and after diapering?

Hand hygiene is super important when it comes to kids and classrooms. All it takes is one sneeze and a cough to contaminate the entire class. Find out if the kids are encouraged to wash their hands before snack time and eating lunch. While it might not always prevent your kid from getting a cold, it can cut down on the number of times he’ll get sick.

9. Are opportunities provided throughout the year for parent/family engagement?

I’ve been a Room Mom for my kids several times, and I absolutely love it. For me, there’s nothing greater than being able to assist in the classroom. Now, many parents might not have the time to volunteer on a regular basis, but they sure do want to be there for activities. Ask the staff if parents are welcome in the classroom (they should be!) and the frequency in which parties or other celebrations occur, so you can plan accordingly.

10. How many staff members have received Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and First Aid training?

Everyone who comes into contact with a child should have CPR and First Aid training. That’s why you should speak with the director of the school to ensure that this is the case.

It can be overwhelming to send your child to preschool or a child care center, let alone know the types of questions to ask. These q’s can give you a good guideline of the information that you really need to know to feel that your kid will get the best education (and experience) possible.

Photo Credit: Aaron Burden/Unsplash
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