When you’re trying to decide on a daycare centre for your child, it’s important you ask the right questions to make sure it’s the one for you. This is particularly important if you’re looking for a baby daycare or a specialist nursery. You may need specific needs from your daycare provider or you may have concerns that you would like to discuss. You should try and get as much information from the nursery when you visit so you can form a solid idea of whether it will work for you and your child.
Here are some questions to ask.
Each nursery is slightly different, so finding one with a routine that works for you is important.
- Ask how many children currently attend the daycare, how many they are licensed for and what their child-to-caregiver ratio is. The ideal ratio would be two to three babies for every adult and for toddlers no more than six children per adult.
- Do they provide any meals and snacks? If so, what do they provide? If your child has any allergies or intolerances this is important to know. If babies are taking bottles, how do you handle frozen or pumped breast milk or formula preparation?
- What kind of schedule does the nursery follow? What times do they sleep and eat and what kind of activities will they be doing? How often will the children play outside?
It’s good to know about any policies the nursery has beforehand so you know what to expect.
- What are their visitation policies? Who else is able to visit and can parents drop in whenever they like or come in to breast-feed?
- What is the policy for late drop-offs and pick-ups?
- Do the children require vaccinations? What is their sick-child policy?
- Are the children ever taken off-site? If so, where do they go and what do they travel in? Ask to see the vehicle, verify auto insurance and inspect the seating arrangements.
- What are the tuition fees and what is the payment schedule?
The safety of your child is very important, so enquire about how they will ensure the safety of your child.
- How do they keep parents up-to-date with their child’s day and their behaviour? Are their daily reports, will staff be taking photos and videos? Are there periodic check-ins to discuss your child’s development?
- How often is the day nursery cleaned? Are toys and games sanitised?
- Are they licensed? Are they accredited? By who?