Things every great daycare has

By: Miles Hector

What is it that parents are looking for in a daycare? As it turns out, a lot. Cost, quality, availability, and proximity to the home are all huge factors in finding the perfect daycare. 

And it seems like finding at least a couple will be easy until you start looking online. Then the endless options are overwhelming and it can be hard to decide. How can you tell what reviews are honest? Can a daycare even be better than another one? 

It can be hard to not get caught up in the details especially when they matter so much. Don’t stress yourself out — here are five things you should see in a great daycare centre:

Low-Turnover Rate 

A revolving door of staff members can be a big red flag for you and your child. It’s a bit silly to expect the same staff lineup for decades, but staff leaving consistently could signal job dissatisfaction or issues with management. 

Staff members that stick around usually do so because they love where they work. This could be a great benefit for your child because kids need consistency. Children are able to place more trust in their caregivers when they’re familiar faces. 

Positive Environment

No childcare centre is the same when it comes to the environment, but you should sense a positive atmosphere right when you enter. The centre should be relatively tidy and personalized to reflect the vibe the caregivers want to create. Whether that means bright playful decorations or a more laid-back aesthetic, it’s important that you and your child feel comfortable. 

Keep your eyes out for art and decorations that were made by the kids. Children feel much more at ease in environments that they contribute to. Arts and crafts projects, class photos on the wall, and age-appropriate toys are all good signs. 

Good Reviews

The hallmark of a good childcare centre is good reviews. A centre with a collection of positive reviews whether word-of-mouth or online can mean many good things about the staff, programs, or the facility. 

Word-of-mouth references or reviews are generally the best, especially when they come from friends and family. You can take these reviews at face value because you already have a relationship with the person making the claim. If you don’t know any parents at a particular centre, try starting a conversation with somebody there. You can also try online review pages like Yelp or check the centre’s website for references. 

Health and Safety Plan

A parent’s number one concern when they drop their child off at daycare is safety. So many accidents can happen when dealing with young children (especially lots of children), so a solid safety plan is a must. Here are some quick things to check for:

  • Fully stocked first aid kits
  • Fire alarms and smoke detectors
  • Outlet covers
  • Corner and edge protection 
  • Cleaning supplies securely locked up

 Positive Interactions

How did you feel when you first met the staff? Body language and first impressions can shine a light on someone’s personality and give clues to how they treat other staff, children and parents.

Try to get a sense of all of the key figures that work in the childcare centre as early as possible. This can include volunteers, kitchen staff, management, or anyone else who may interact with your child. Everyone who works there should not only be trying to make a good impression on your child but on you as well.

It can also be important that staff have positive relations with each other. There’s no need for everyone to be best friends when the shift ends, but an amicable team with a shared commitment to care for your children will work better than a hostile one.

It can be difficult to find the right daycare for your family, but now that you know what to look for, it’ll be significantly easier!