Login Donate  
We provide personalized help with finding funding and choosing child care to families though our referral service. Parents are able to receive information and resources about early care and education issues, what to look for in a quality program, parenting resources and finding the right child care for their child.


Child Care Evaluation Checklist

Emotional Setting:
Children need warm, caring, knowledgeable adults. When caregivers treat children with respect and affection, they are contributing to the child's sense of well-being and self-esteem. How your child feels about him/herself affects every other area of growth and development.

  • Does the caregiver warmly greet children in the morning?
  • Do the children seem comfortable, happy, relaxed, active and interested in what they are doing?
  • Do the people caring for the children take the time to listen to and talk with each child? Do they treat each child as an individual with unique needs? Does the caregiver take time to respond to children as individuals?
  • Does the caregiver hold, cuddle, and talk to infants? Does the caregiver pick up infants when they are crying?
  • When children are hurt, do they receive prompt and gentle care, and comfort if needed?
  • Does the caregiver listen to feelings and help the children put feelings into words?
  • Does the caregiver provide guidance and limits without humiliation? Does the caregiver show patience in helping children learn age-appropriate self-control?
  • Does the caregiver seem to appreciate each child's special qualities and communicate that to the child?
  • Are the voices of caregivers generally soft and gentle?
  • Do caregiver and children seem to trust each other?
While the single-most important factor in an early childhood program is the person who will be taking care of your child, environment may also play a significant part in your child's growth and development. Environment can foster a child's social development, individual decision-making, intellectual challenge, self- confidence, and play.

  • Does the environment seem child-oriented?
  • Are there toys and equipment geared for the particular developmental level of your child?
  • Are materials accessible on open shelves to encourage children's choices?
  • In a center, is the environment divided into easily-identifiable areas, such as art area; block area; manipulative (puzzles, legos); sand/water; housekeeping; quiet area; and movement/music area?
  • Is there adequate light and ventilation?
  • Is there a safe and developmentally-appropriate outdoor space for children?
  • Is there variety in the activities, opportunity for group and individual play, quiet and noisy activities?
  • Where do children nap?
  • Are diapering areas separate from eating areas?
  • Does the caregiver wash his/her hands after each diaper change and before meal preparation?
  • Are bathroom facilities kept clean and children encouraged to wash their hands?
  • Are medicines and poisonous substances kept out of children's reach?
  • Is there a smoke detector and fire extinguisher?
  • Are there guards on windows, gates across stairs and areas not child-proofed, and safety plugs over outlets?
Questions To Ask While Interviewing.......
The following are some of the questions to ask during an interview. You will probably have some additional questions of your own, based on your individual situation. Be sure to jot them down as you think of them.

  • Do you have a license? (It should be current and posted.) CPR, 1st aid and Health & Safety Certification should be posted as well.
  • How many children do you care for and what are their ages?
  • What will the costs be and what is the payment arrangement?
  • Do I pay when my child is ill or when we are on vacation? Does the provider close for holidays or vacations? Which ones?
  • What is your policy regarding ill children?
  • What supplies/equipment do you provide and what do you expect me to provide?
  • Do you serve meals and/or snacks? What types of foods do you serve? How do you handle children with food allergies?
  • What is the usual daily routine? Are age-appropriate activities provided? What are some examples? Is there free time?
  • Will the children be watching television? If so, what programs and how much time each day?
  • Are activities, including art, music, cooking, science, language and motor development, a part of the program?
  • Are there activities which challenge thinking, stimulate creativity, develop physical and social skills?
  • What is your approach to limit-setting? What is the philosophy on discipline? Corporal/physical punishment (spanking, hitting, etc.) and/or verbal abuse are prohibited in family child care homes or child care centers.
  • Is there a regular nap time? Is there a bed, cot or mat for each child? Are there cribs for infants? Does each child have her or his own bedding?
  • What methods are used for toilet training?
  • Will there be field trips? Will my child be riding in your vehicle? Are there adequate safety restraints and are they always used? Will I be notified if you plan to go out with the children? Do you have car insurance and does it cover my child?
  • What is the plan for caring for children in an emergency? Emergency and immunization records must be kept on all children in care.
  • In a child care center: How many children are there per teacher? What is the educational training of the teachers? What does the center do for staff development?
Does the Caregiver.......
  • Appear to be warm and friendly?
  • Seem calm and gentle?
  • Seem to have a sense of humor?
  • Seem to be someone with whom you can develop a comfortable, sharing relationship?
  • Seem to be someone your child will enjoy being with?
  • Seem to feel good about themselves and the job?
  • Have child-rearing methods and attitudes similar to your own?
  • Treat each child as a special person?
  • Understand what children can and want to do at different stages of growth?
  • Have materials and equipment on hand to help children learn and grow mentally and physically?
  • Patiently help children to solve their problems?
  • Provide activities that encourage children to think things through?
  • Encourage good health habits such as washing hands before eating?
  • Encourage children to express themselves through words and language?
  • Encourage creative expression?
  • Have art and music supplies suitable for the developmental level of the children in their care?
  • Seem to have enough time to look after each of the children?
  • Help your child to accept and feel good about themselves?
  • Help your child become independent in ways you approve of?
  • Help your child to get along with and respect rights of others?
  • Provide dependable and appropriate rules and routine?
  • Accept and respect your family's cultural values?
  • Take time to discuss your child with you regularly?
  • Have previous experience or training in working with children?
  • Have training in emergency first aid and CPR?
Does the Child Care Center or Family Child Care Home Have.....
  • Up-to-date license, Health and Safety cards posted?
  • A clean, comfortable look?
  • Adequate indoor and outdoor space for the children?
  • Enough caregivers to attend to all of the children in care?
  • Safe equipment which is kept in good repair?
  • Enough rooms and cots or cribs for napping?
  • Clean bathrooms?
  • An alternate exit in case of fire?
  • A safety plan to follow in case of emergencies?
  • An outdoor play area that is safe, free of litter and supervised?
  • An area in which ill children can be supervised and cared for but separated from the group until the parents can arrive?
  • A first aid kit?
  • Covered radiators and heaters and screened fireplace?
  • Strong screens or bars on windows above the first floor?
  • Fence, gate, and/or cover that meets licensing requirement if there is a swimming pool or hot tub on the premises?
  • A step stool in the bathroom to enable toddlers to reach the sink and toilet?
Are There Opportunities...
  • To play quietly and actively, indoors and out?
  • To play alone at times and with friends at other times?
  • To follow a schedule that meets a young child's need for routine, but is flexible enough to meet the different needs of each child?
  • To use materials and equipment that help a child learn new physical skills, develop muscular control and get exercise?
  • To learn to get along, to share and to respect himself/herself and others?
  • To learn about the child's own culture and cultures of others through art, music, books, songs, games and other activities?
  • To speak both English and the native language of the child's family?