34 Questions Parents Should Ask When Looking for a Child Care Center

by Tim Clifford, director of North End Children’s Center (founded in 1826)

There are a number of questions and concerns running through a parent’s mind when trying to find the right child care center or preschool for their child. To help parents with this task, we have created a handy list of questions that can be printed out and referenced throughout their daycare search.

child dayQuestions to ask yourself and the provider:

  1. Is there an opening in your child’s age group?
  2. If not, when will one come available?
  3. Is there a waiting list?
  4. Is the location convenient for commuting?
  5. If not, is public transportation available?
  6. Does the center offer transportation?
  7. What is the provider’s fee or tuition?
  8. What does it include? (i.e. meals, diapers, transportation, admission fee, initial fee)
  9. Will you have to pay tuition for days of vacation, illness, and holidays?
  10. Does the provider offer financial assistance or a sliding scale?
  11. Is the provider open during the hours you need child care?
  12. If your schedule is unpredictable, is the provider flexible about drop-off and pick-up times?
  13. What is the policy for when your child is sick?
  14. Is the provider set up to care for sick children, or will you need to make your own arrangements?
  15. Will you need a Doctor’s note to return to the program after an illness?
  16. Does the staff have CPR and First Aid certification?
  17. How often are fire drills performed?
  18. Is there a clear, written statement of the program’s goals and philosophy?
  19. Does the program consider the child’s individual needs?
  20. Is the curriculum culturally diverse?
  21. Is self expression encouraged?
  22. Do teachers encourage children’s interests?
  23. Are there quiet activities as well as vigorous activities?
  24. Is there a routine?
  25. What is the discipline policy?
  26. Does the program have a current state license?
  27. Does the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs (NAECP) accredit the program? [Accreditation is a voluntary self-study of staff qualifications, physical environment, curriculum, parent questionnaires and observations by the director, staff, and a representative of the NAECP]
  28. What are the teachers’ qualifications?
  29. What is the child to teacher ratio?
  30. Is there frequent staff turnover?
  31. How are the children of different ages grouped?
  32. Are extended hours available?
  33. Is parent involvement encouraged? How?
  34. Will the school’s administration allow you to contact other parents for a reference?

North End Children’s Center (NECC), located at 332 Hanover Street, has been caring for children since 1926. We help our students discover the world in many exciting ways, through art, music, computers, games, group activities, and one-on-one times with teachers.

NECC and its staff are licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care. Our staff has many years of experience and longevity at the organization – most staff members have been at NECC for more than five years.

We are currently accepting pre-school students between the ages of 2 years 9 months to 6 years. To learn more call 617-623-8007 or visit our website.