How Do I Recognize a Good Caregiver?

Look for a caregiver who…

  • listens and is enthusiastic
  • pays attention to the quiet child—as well as to the more demanding one
  • bends down to talk at eye-level with the children
  • welcomes parents into the setting

Watch out for a caregiver who…

  • complains and makes excuses
  • belittles children or gossips about other staff members
  • focuses primarily on the “trouble-makers”

Will My Child Grow and Thrive Here?

Look for situations where children are encouraged to…

  • use their words to talk about their feelings
  • solve disagreements on their own
  • feel comfortable turning to adults for help
  • explore and enjoy new activities

Watch out for situations where children appear to…

  • get scolded for minor mistakes
  • look pressured to conform rather than cooperate
  • exclude others from taking part in activities without an adult intervening
  • seem anxious and afraid to have fun

Is Learning Going On?

Look for a program where children are encouraged to…

  • experiment and solve problems individually as well as in small groups
  • wonder and ask questions and to use all their senses
  • enjoy the pleasure of creating something, more than the appearance of the end product
  • make use of appropriate materials of all sorts, but are not allowed to overuse computers, DVD pla
    yers or electronic devices

Watch out for situations where…

  • the teacher is too intrusive and does everything for the children
  • the teacher blames the children if the lesson isn’t successful
  • the children’s artwork and projects all look identical

How is the Curriculum?

Look for programs where…

  • children can make choices about what areas and materials to explore
  • learning looks like such great fun that you want to join in
  • a daily schedule helps children know what to expect but is also flexible enough to adapt to special circumstances
  • materials of all sorts—including dress-up clothes, art supplies, puzzles, blocks, books—are available and accessible for children to use
  • a place and a plan are provided for both active and quiet play

Watch out for programs where…

  • children must all be doing the same thing at the same time
  • children are hesitant to do anything without an adult’s assistance

Will My Child Get Enough Physical Activity?

Look for a program where…

  • adequate space is provided both inside and out for physical activity
  • a range of activities is provided (climbing, dancing, jumping...)
  • children of all shapes, sizes and abilities are encouraged to gain awareness of their bodies and develop their skills
  • small muscle coordination is also fostered by using materials such as puzzles, peg boards, blunt scissors, blocks

Watch out for programs where…

  • children have limited space to move around
  • the teacher’s primary goal is to get the children quiet and to keep them still

Is the Setting Welcoming?

Look for a program where…

  • children of all races, backgrounds, religions, and abilities are included and look comfortable together
  • cooperation, rather than conformity, is rewarded
  • parents feel comfortable and valued when interacting with the caregiver
  • meals and snack times are opportunities for conversation between children and caregivers
    children, parents, caregivers, and staff know each other’s names

Watch out for programs where…

  • certain children seemed favored or are more apt to be punished than others
  • the philosophy is that children are to be seen, not heard
  • parents struggle to get information from the caregiver

Is this a Safe and Healthy Place?

Look for programs where…

  • the facility looks clean and inviting
  • bodily functions are treated in a matter-of-fact way
  • meals and/or snacks are nutritious and provided at appropriate intervals
  • active play is supervised
Watch out for programs where…
  • rooms or areas seem difficult to supervise properly
  • food is used to reward or punishment

How Do I Know if I’ve Chosen the Right Place for My Child?

If you feel comfortable, safe and valued,
if you feel eager to take part in the activities,
if you feel happy to spend time with this caregiver in this setting,then chances are your child will thrive here, too.