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You will want to look for providers and programs that also meet your needs around location, schedules and language. Once you have interviewed them over the phone. Visit them. Visit more than once, make one of the visits unannounced, and visit at different times of the day.Look for the following during your visit.
• If the child care program is licensed, the license should be posted
• The environment should be safe, clean, secure and free of health hazards
• There should be plenty of space both indoors & out for children to play
• There should be a place for the children to nap as well as space for quiet or private time
• There should be space to temporarily isolate a sick child
• Ideally, the provider will participant in the Child Care Food Program
• If meals and snacks are served, they should be healthy and nutritious and the food preparation area should be clean and safe
• Each child should have a place for his or her personal belongings
• Emergency numbers should be posted by the telephone
• The first aid kit should be easily accessible
• Look for safety hazards. Electrical outlets should be covered with safety caps and there should be no dangling cords, either electrical or on drapes or blinds. Stairs should be blocked by safety gates that are attached to the wall; preasure gates are not sufficient to ensure safety around stairs.
• There should be fire extinguishers/smoke alarms installed
• Smoking and alcohol should be prohibited when children are present
• If pets are present, they should have health records on file and should not pose a hazard to the children
• Providers and center staff should have first aid and CPR training
• Children and staff should wash hands before eating & after toileting
• The provider or center should provide you with references
• Providers and staff should have knowledge and experience in child development
• Look for possible staffing isssues. There should be enough staff that children are supervised at all times
• Ideally, each child will have a primary caregiver
• You will need to ask questions to determine whether or not the programs policies about nutrition, toileting, napping and discipline are consistent with those of your family
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