Quality Indicators Child care settings vary depending on the license capacity, facility type, and other factors. When visiting a child care program, consider the following:
Be informed about the ratio of each age group. A small number of children per adult is most important during a child's early years. Infants need an adult-to-child ratio of no more than 1:4 (one adult for four infants), while four-year-olds do well with a ratio of 1:10 (one adult for ten children).
Count the number of children in each age group. Research shows that the quality of care is better when the group size is small, meaning the children receive more attention.
Many child care programs encourage parents to stay involved by volunteering time when needed and joining in on special events, like field trips, or Career Day. Be sure to ask your provider how to be involved.
Caregivers who have experience with children and are trained in early childhood development are more likely to organize age-appropriate activities that allow children to grow and learn. Those providers who further their own education are more likely to promote a positive learning environment.
A quality program works to retain teachers, which in turn provides stability and security for the children in care.
Health and Safety
Local health and building codes address the spread of disease and building safety. In the child care setting, caregivers protect children by making sure equipment is sturdy, toys are not broken, and adult areas are secured. The program should have health policies in place which are followed by providers to ensure healthy and safe practices, use this Health and Safety Checklist as a guide.
Any quality child care program can become accredited. Child care centers, family child care homes, and after school programs have different organizations that conduct the accreditation process. Family child care homes and child care centers must offer the kind of care, attention, and educational activities that satisfy parents' needs for their children.