Assessing Quality Child Care


Here is our “Checklist for Quality Child Care.” You will have peace of mind knowing that you have found the best possible care for your child. As you look for the program that best meets the needs of your child and family, reach high for quality child care!

Program Quality

What are the elements of a quality child care program?

  • Are there enough caregivers to meet the needs of each child?
  • Do teachers receive ongoing training?
  • Are the caregivers friendly?
  • Do they keep the parents informed?
  • Are you welcome to visit at any time?
  • Is the program’s license displayed?
  • Are the limits clear and age-appropriate?
  • Is the discipline policy available in written form?
  • Does the program keep up with children’s changing interests?
  • Are the parents’ ideas welcomed?
  • Are there ways for you to get involved?


Look for caregivers who treat your child with respect and warmth and have a positive attitude.

  • Caregivers show affection, warmth, and patience with the children.
  • Children are happy.
  • Caregivers place themselves at the child's level. They talk and listen to the child.
  • Children are encouraged to talk and express themselves.
  • Caregivers give praise for good behavior.
  • Caregivers set clear and age-appropriate limits and expectations.
  • The discipline policy is available in written form.
  • NO physical punishment or verbal abuse is used.


Make sure the environment (indoor and the outdoor areas) is appealing and inviting.

Indoor Area

  • The atmosphere is bright and pleasant.
  • Children's artwork is displayed.
  • The room is not cluttered or overcrowded. Caregivers can see all areas.
  • Furniture and bathroom facilities are appropriate for the sizes and abilities of the children.
  • Soft space and quiet space are provided for relaxation and comfort (look for cushions, rugs, bean bags, etc.).

Outdoor Area

  • There are areas for active play, quiet play, and resting.
  • The outdoor play has a variety of equipment and provides shade.
  • Caregivers can see the entire playground at all times.


Creative and fun activities help your child grow.

  • There is a daily balance of planned activities (for example: play time, story time, and rest time).
  • Activities are appropriate for age or skill level. Children are not required to sit for long periods of time.
  • Children can choose from a variety of materials and activity areas of their own interest.
  • Children can reach play materials easily. There are enough materials for all children.
  • Pretend play: dress-up clothes, house, or other materials for make believe play, etc.
  • Quiet play: books, puppets, flannel boards, etc.
  • Creative art: crayons, paint, paper, markers, glue, scissors, easel, clay, etc.
  • Manipulatives (problem solving and small motor skills): puzzles, matching games, counting materials, etc.
  • Block play: variety of blocks and building accessories, etc.
  • Sensory play: water and/or sand table with appropriate toys, etc.
  • Creative movement and music: records and tapes, instruments, dancing, etc.

Health & Safety

You can relax knowing your child is in a safe place.

  • Are nutritious snacks and meals offered each day?
  • Are emergency exits clear and well-marked?
  • Are electrical outlets covered?
  • Are cleaning supplies and medications kept in locked storage?
  • Does hand-washing occur frequently?
  • Do caregivers encourage the children to wash their hands?
  • Do caregivers share program policies and procedures with parents?
  • What is the child illness policy?
  • Is the fire evacuation plan posted?
  • Are there monthly fire drills?

Special Considerations for Infants & Toddlers

  • Infants and toddlers should be talked to, cuddled, and rocked frequently throughout the day.
  • Each infant should have his or her own crib. Bedding should be changed daily.
  • Diapers should be changed when needed--rather than on a set schedule.
  • Caregivers should wash their hands after changing each diaper.
  • Infants should be held while being fed a bottle. They should have their own cup, spoon, etc.