Choosing a Quality Environment

Quality child care can make a big difference in the future of your child. You can give your child a head start on a strong and healthy mind, body, and spirit. Although quality child care can mean different things to different people, many experts agree that quality care includes the following:

Affection and Attention: Is the provider interested in your child as an individual? Do they talk and listen at the child’s level? Do they comfort the children when needed? Are the children the provider’s main focus? The provider should be warm, energetic, and caring with the children.

Group Size: Smaller groups are better. Make sure you assess whether you feel the provider can effectively care for all children enrolled in their program before making a decision.

Training and Background of the Provider: Research has shown that the most important indicator of quality child care is the training in early childhood that the provider has received. Ask what training in child development the provider has. How long have they been doing child care?

Low Staff Turnover: It is important to your child to have the same caregiver for as long as possible – hopefully a year or more. This provides stability for your child and gives them time to bond with their caregiver and feel safe.

Good Parent/Provider Communication: This is important for a good partnership and your child’s positive experience in care. Ask about specific ways the provider will communicate with you and decide how you will communicate with them.

Developmental Growth: Do the program’s child rearing goals and discipline style match your own?

A Healthy Environment: Are emergency numbers and policies posted? Do you observe sanitary diapering procedures and schedules? Are there clean and safe places for children to crawl and play? Is healthy food served? Are there separate areas for eating, diapering, resting, and playing?

Helpful Links to find Quality Childcare

Child Care Quality Rating System (CCQS)

Quality Care Matters

Childcare Search Guidance

Childcare Cost

Care About Childcare is an online system designed in partnership with the Office of Child Care and is intended to promote quality child care and helps parents locate licensed providers in their area. For more information visit Care About Childcare.