The Daycare Interview
Whether you are interviewing a director for a daycare center or a caregiver offering in-home care, the questions you ask matter. These questions can tell you a lot about how they operate their facility and what you can expect if you choose to have them care for your child while you are at work.
A good daycare is one that has been in business for awhile, has up-to-date credentials, clear rules, follows all state regulations, and has policies regarding sick children, pick up and drop off, etc. Even if the facility claims to have all of these things, make sure you review them during the interview to see how they actually enforce what they advertise. Following are some important questions that you should ask a daycare provider before agreeing to send your child there.
Questions to Ask About the Center
- How long has your daycare center been in business?
- What are your accreditations?
- Are you state licensed?
Questions Regarding Enrollment
- What is your licensed capacity?
- How many caregivers do you have per children (the ratio of caregivers to child)?
- Do you have space for my child or a waiting list?
- What is your enrollment fee?
Days and Hours
- What are your operating hours?
- What is the earliest and latest a child can be picked up or dropped off at your facility?
- What are your hours and days around the holidays?
- Do you have other days of the year that your center is closed?
- How flexible are you with pick up and drop off times?
Questions Regarding Cost
- How much is the monthly fee for daycare?
- Must I pay a food fee or will you provide food for my child?
- Do you offer sibling discounts?
- Is there a late pick up fee?
- Do I have to pay while my child is sick or when we are on vacation?
- How and when do I get billed?
- What forms of payment do you accept and when is payment due?
- What supplies am I required to bring along with my child (e.g. diapers, formula, baby wipes, food, etc.)?
- What other supplies should I bring for my child?
Questions About the Parents and the Facility
- Do you encourage or allow visits from parents?
- What do you expect from me as a parent?
- How will you communicate with me? Is there a newsletter or board I can look at for events or notices?
- Will I receive daily reports regarding my child or any behavioral issues?
- Can I bring my child by for a pre-enrollment visit to see if he or she likes it?
- Do you encourage parent conferences?
Care and Grouping
- How are children grouped? Will they be grouped by age or grade?
- How large is the group my child will be in?
- What do you do for activities?
- How much TV time will my child have?
- What training do your caregivers have for my child’s age group?
- Will my child be participating in a curriculum of any sort?
The interview process is critical for picking the right daycare provider or center. By taking the time to interview and ask these questions, you can uncover a lot about how a facility truly operates – and if it is the right place to leave your child.