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Inspect each day care center you visit to ensure it provides a clean and safe environment. Ask to see the washroom facilities for the children and the separate washroom for the staff. Look at the eating area, which should be large enough to accommodate all the children while allowing the staff room to move around to help the children. Check that the day care center has adequate hand-washing stations for all, and that the kitchen operates well, with a proper fridge and other appliances. In the play area, look to see that the toys have regular cleaning cycles and are stored in a safe yet accessible manner. You do not want to see unsecured shelving or other items that could fall over and hurt a child.
Watch the children and staff interact at each day care facility. Look for energetic and involved staffers who act kindly toward the children yet maintain order and safety. Children should feel happy and encouraged in their play. Ask the staff what their daily schedule is, when quiet times are and whether they provide a nap area for the children. Have the staff show you the outdoor play area, and see if they have both a sheltered and non-sheltered play area. Talk to other parents with children there, and take your child for a visit to see how he likes it.
Find out the full costs of the day care, what it includes in these fees and what its policy is for late payments. Ask for information about subsidies or other financial help if you require such assistance. You will also want to know what its discipline procedures are. A good day care center encourages parental involvement and has an open door policy that you should take advantage of, because the best way to ensure the day care works well for your child is to observe your child there. A good day care center also provides you with complete documentation about its operation in a clear and easy to understand manner and answers all your questions.