Earlier this year, I shared insight into the world of local daycares, thanks to a partnership with Premier Academy Child Enrichment Center. I remember far too well how stressful it was to find a good daycare, and I hope it’s been a helpful series for you! If you missed earlier posts, check out these tips for things to look for when searching for a daycare provider and then discover how kids are learning through play.
Disclosure: This is sponsored post by Premier Academy. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.
Ever wonder what daycare providers wished you knew…if only you knew what questions to ask? I asked Jewelyn McKercher, the Center Director at Premier Academy, to share some things daycare workers wished you’d ask.
Are background checks completed on your employees?
According to McKercher, daycares should follow the minimum requirements for the state of Nebraska, so ask about them. Requirements include: Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Central Registry Check; Nebraska State Sex Offender Registry; and the Nebraska State Patrol Criminal History.
What training are the teachers required to have?
You’re curious about teacher training, right? (I was) So, McKercher said you should ask about it. The training she said is important for providers to have includes training for: Pediatric CPR; Pediatric First Aid; Child Abuse Prevention (ie. being able to recognize the signs of child abuse and knowing how to report it); Safe With You training (required by the State of Nebraska); and Continuing Education in the field of Early Childhood Education.
How is your employee turnover?
This was one of the few questions I remember asking when searching for daycare. McKercher said “Consistency is extremely important to children and the environment in which they learn best. Getting used to new teachers takes time and energy that could be spent learning.”
How do teachers communicate with parents?
Do you like a full write up or do you like to just talk about your kid’s day? It’s a good thing to ask potential daycares how they communicate with parents.
“Each day you should receive a daily report of your child’s day,” said McKercher. “It should include highlights of that day, what they ate/drank, lessons/curriculum, and if the children are younger diaper changes.”
What is the teacher to child ratio?
Ask how many children there are for each teacher. McKercher said the fewer the children to a teacher the better.
“You want your child to get plenty of attention and care,” said McKercher. “The younger your child, the more important this is. Babies need a teacher to child ratio of 1:4 (one teacher to four infants), while 4-year olds can do well with a ratio of 1:12 (one teacher for 12 children).”
Is the program licensed or regulated?
Licensure ensures that the center is registered and has met or exceeded the state’s local requirements.
“It also advisable to contact the state to see if they have any outstanding complaints filed against them,” said McKercher.
How is the food prepared and how healthy are the meals served?
In addition to asking about the food, go ahead and ask to see a menu. Additionally, you can ask if they serve a variety of fruits and vegetables. McKercher said serving a variety will “encourage the children to expand their taste for different types of foods.”
Is there a fenced-in outdoor play area with safe equipment?
I didn’t realize how important this was to me until I started looking around daycare and seeing how drastically different outdoor spaces were. Additional questions to ask in this area, include
- Can the caregivers see the entire playground and all of the children playing?
- How often do the children go outside?
Do you have a curriculum?
Yes, even childcare centers have curriculum! McKercher encourages prospect parents to ask about it when touring and to ask if the center incorporate the Nebraska Early Learning Guidelines.
She suggested a couple other curriculum questions to ask: What is your Kindergarten readiness rate? How prepared or advanced are your students when beginning Kindergarten?
What are your hours of operation?
Seems like a pretty important question, right? But go beyond the weekday hours, and ask about holidays and bad weather, too.
About the post sponsor
I hope this post helps you if you’re looking for a daycare provider. If you thought McKercher was helpful, and you happen to be in the market for childcare, I encourage you to check out her employer, Premier Academy. There are locations in West Omaha and Elkhorn.
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Tuesday 12th of May 2020
I like how you mentioned that pediatric CPR, first aid, and child abuse prevention are all training courses that daycare center staff should receive. My wife and I are thinking of looking for child care services because I'm considering returning back to work full-time as a high school history teacher. I think it's a good idea for us to consider all of our options when hiring reputable professionals to look after and care for our child while we're both at work.
Monday 11th of May 2020
I'm glad to hear that you should get a daily report of your child's day and what they learned. My sister is moving to our city this summer and is stressing about finding a good daycare where she can drop off her daughter while she works. I'll have to help her find a good daycare that is close to where we live that she can trust.
Monday 10th of February 2020
Wow, I love that you point out that the teacher to child ratio needs to be reasonable, and you need to ask about how you communicate with the daycare. I am going to need to go back to work soon, which means that I need to send my little girl to a great daycare. I have no idea what to ask about, so thank you for your tips. I will have to follow your advice as I look for great places.