My sweet baby girl is now in daycare a couple days a week, and “shopping” for a daycare was really hard. When touring daycares I struggled to imagine leaving her.. I’d been with her every day since she was born, I know everything about her, every quirk and cry, so trusting a bunch of strangers to give her the same love and attention I give her? That’s a hard place to get to.
There were a few things that we decided were essentials (like them sticking to our routine at home, and having a low teacher to child ratio) and some things we didn’t mind, and in the end, what sealed the deal with Mackenzie’s reaction to the teachers. Before I started back at work I knew that there were two teachers she loved and who could comfort her if she was unwell or tired.
So with that in mind, here are some good questions to ask a daycare, and yourselves:
– What is their mission statement? Does it align with you and your family’s values?
– What are the opening and closing hours? Will they fit in with your work schedule?
– Is there a commitment to pay for a certain number of hours per day of attendance?
– What is the adult to child ratio? (Anything less than 1:5 is good, I believe)
– Will they stick to your feeding and sleep routines?
– Do they provide food? If so, what is on their menu?
– What do they provide? And what are parents expected to provide?
– Do they do any school prep with older children?
– What is their play philosophy? Is it structured or free play? Indoor and outdoor? etc.
– Is there a daily handover process?
[We have a book which we fill out each day, detailing how baby slept, what feeds and naps are due, and any other commentary. The centre fills out how long her naps were, how much she ate, how many dirty and wet nappies they changed and a little bit about how her day has gone. It’s great for us to get a glimpse of her day and depending on how it went, decide if we need to give extra food or do an early bedtime.]
– Do they provide updates on your child’s learning and play progress?
– Can I be a crazy mama and call to check that baby is doing ok?
– What is their sickness policy?
– What is their pickup policy? And do they provide car seats in an emergency?
Gosh I’m sure there are a tonne more things you could ask…
What would you add to my list?