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What are some qualifications for a good daycare?

26 votes
It's time to find a daycare for our little one and I have no idea how to screen these establishments.  What do I look for?  How do I know they're licensed?  Are there any warning signs of a shoddy daycare?
asked in Health and advice by channylaf (3,549 points)

16 Answers

5 votes
Best answer

Licensed daycares will be willing to show you their registration information and you can also look them up with your municipality.  Quebec has a much better daycare system than we have in Ontario.  There is limited space here and for some daycares you need to be on the waiting list for over a year for a chance to get in.


The things I looked for when selecting care for my boys were:

  1. Bilingual, I live in Ottawa so this is important.
  2. Affectionate care givers
  3. Low care giver turn over (says a lot about the organization)
  4. Dicipline policies that match your philosophy
  5. Organized administration
  6. Good facilities, clean, equipped, location, parking/ drop off location
  7. Nutritional program
  8. Curriculum


We found that 80% of daycares made the choice very easy.  Either they were dirty, or we heard them yelling at the kids while we were touring.  We even had one director complaining to us about how much milk they were using.  


It gets hard when you narrow it down to the top 2 or 3. Some times it just boils down to when space becomes available.


Good luck with your search and I am sure you will make a good decision.




answered by cmic (4,473 points)
selected by channylaf
4 votes
Letting you pick up and drop off your child at different times is a good thing — but it should also have clearly established regulations for everything from operating hours to how to handle emergencies.  These are a couple things I needed to discuss.
answered by Julie (169 points)
4 votes
Have an eye out for a daycare with a strict sick-child policy. Find out which illnesses mean your child has to stay home and for how long.  This shows that they really care about the well being of the children.
answered by Bren_S (163 points)
3 votes
I haven't really had to deal with daycares, but cmic said it pefrectly!  Good luck with your search!
answered by bcpotts (7,692 points)
3 votes

Cmic posted some great points but I would add that to be sure the child to caregiver ratio is always maintained. There are rules dependant on the ages of the kids and you would want to be confident your child was being adequetly supervised and stimulated.

answered by Guppy (6,009 points)
2 votes
references--other moms who use it, what do they think of the care?


variety of stimulating toys, books, activities.

your connection with the caregivers.

cost. (can you afford it?)
answered by jenna3967 (2,690 points)
4 votes
The best daycare centers have structured schedules that include plenty of time for physical activity, quiet time (including daily reading sessions for groups and individuals), group programs, individual activities, meals, snacks, and free time. The worst ones will just turn on the TV and play videos instead of taking care too closely.
answered by Vivian (262 points)
2 votes
Centers that don't restrict candy or other sweets may not have your child's best interests at heart. If the center does have a food plan, find out what it serves at meal and snack times.
answered by Lynn (178 points)
4 votes
When I had my boys in a daycare they would always hand me a daily report.  It would show how they ate, how they slept and for how long.  It really helped me understand how their days went and how they are going to be when they get home.  Will they be extra hungry will they not get tired as early as usual.  Really helped and it was a great daycare, so look for one that will have a daily report, you will not regret it.
answered by Dotty (234 points)
2 votes

Watch out for this sign, it is a good sign of a bad daycare.  The telephone number of your child’s home or classroom is almost always busy.

answered by FGreen (136 points)
Wow, thanks everyone!  I've taken all your recommendations and made a list of questions to ask and things to look out for.  I feel like I'll be well prepared to make a good decision when I trust someone with my first born.  Thanks to you all!

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