When you make the decision to enroll your child in a daycare center, you want to make sure you’re choosing the right center for your needs…and, of course, that you’re getting the highest quality care possible. Whether you’re looking for an infant learning center, after school programs for kids, or summer childcare programs, you will want to thoroughly investigate the center to ensure you’re making the perfect choice!

At Smart Start Child Care, we bring you top-quality care for your infants, toddlers, and school-age children. Our curriculum is comprehensive and takes a whole-child approach to prepare your child for friendships, school, and beyond. Contact us now to learn more, and to schedule a tour!

Here are some ways you can be sure to choose the best daycare.

Pay a Visit

One of the best ways to determine whether or not a program is the best choice is by taking a look for yourself! Make sure the place is clean in all the areas you tour, and that you see workers and children alike washing hands frequently. Does it look bright and happy and have age-appropriate decorations throughout? Also take a look at the types of educational equipment, playground equipment, toys, and other items they have. They should be in excellent shape, be clean, and be targeted to the right age for each classroom. You will also want to watch the interactions between the teachers and students.

Ask About Policies

Policies for the daycare center should be in writing, and signed by the parent and manager. You will need to know up front what your payments will cost, how often they’re charged, and how they will be paid. Ask about policies when your child is ill, as well as what happens if the provider is ill or can’t watch children that day (you will not have to worry about backup care if a teacher is out at Smart Start!). Know the types of meals that will be provided, if you have to send any food with your child, and what policies they have in place for special dietary and behavioral/psychological/physical needs.

Ask About Communication

Communications can get tricky when there are multiple people who care for your child each day, especially if you have two children enrolled in two different classrooms! To aid in eliminating any confusion, ask how important messages should be conveyed regarding absences, medications, and other information. Additionally, you will want to know how you will be notified of injuries or behavior issues, as well as other activities that happen at the school.

Hours and Transportation

You will want to ensure that the center you choose is open the hours you will need them! If you have an exceptionally early or late schedule, you can discuss this with the manager to see if an exception can be made—or if you’ll have to look at another center. Discuss the daily schedule and curriculum for your children, as well as meal times and other activities. If you’re in search of after school programs for kids, discuss transportation times, rules, and how thoroughly they vet the drivers. For those enrolling kids in summer child care programs, ask about the activities that will be provided, any special things that will be required from home, and any additional costs.

Child to Teacher Ratio

Most states have laws regarding the teacher to child ratio in daycare centers, so you will want to know that in advance of enrollment. Discuss the ratio with the school to see if it is on par with the laws, or if they have even fewer children per student than is required.

Check Reviews and References

In addition to your interview with the center, you will want to spread out a bit and learn more. You’re likely to find online reviews for the daycare centers you’re considering, which will help you get the overall consensus of others’ experiences. You can also check the state’s regulatory board to investigate any complaints.

Ask About Discipline

You will want to make sure that discipline is handled fairly and that it falls into your philosophies, too. Ask how children are redirected and disciplined after misbehaving, and how you will be notified.

Ask Questions, Period!

You are entering one of the most important relationships of yours and your child’s life, so you want to be sure that you’re setting them up for success. Don’t be shy about asking questions that feel important to you. Some of these could include qualifications for the teachers, immunization policies, educational curriculum, philosophies, and what meals will be served. If they are not willing to answer your questions, that could potentially be a red flag.

If you’re in need of top rated infant learning, after school programs, for kids, and summer child care programs, look no further than Smart Start in Bowling Green. Feel free to schedule a tour or drop in—we look forward to seeing you!