Let’s talk about what to look for in a daycare as well as what you should ask as a new parent to make sure your baby or toddler will be safe!
Touring daycares can be quite tricky, especially when it’s your first time around as a new parent. It’s seriously like buying a house (I’ve never owned a house, haha!) you want it to be perfect, and feel safe and at home when you walk in. Anthony and I have a mental checklist of what to look for in a daycare when touring daycares. We can tend to be pretty picky when touring daycares for the girls because I am fully certified to run a learning center on my own so I’d have to say, I have some of the best tips for what to look for in a daycare. I started working in the preschool field when I was 16 and quit in December of 2017 (except for taking a break late 2015 & all of 2016 to stay home with Alyssa after she was born. I mentioned on Instagram how Alyssa was going back to preschool, and we were touring daycares. You automatically wanted to know what to look for when touring daycares or touring preschools!
What to Look for in a Daycare (and Daycare MUST HAVES!)
Here is a list I hope helps you when touring daycares for your baby or toddler:
- Class Size – Some schools love to jam pack students into a classroom because its a business, the more, the merrier. However, when touring daycares, it turns us away when classes are jam-packed & when there isn’t a door to each classroom. We have walked into centers where its a big facility divided by a bunch of bookshelves. It’s NOT CUTTING IT If the classroom does not have a door and each age group doesn’t have their very own classroom and space.
- Reputation – You want to make sure others love the school were interested in. I usually go pretty excessive on looking for reviews before I start touring daycares. Facebook is my number one go-to I write in all the mom facebook groups and ask for daycares in the area that I live in before checking them out. I then go on to google and type in the school recommended and checked out their google reviews. I recently called daycares and made an appt for a tour and then went on google and saw the reviews and immediately canceled the tour. Yes, I’m that crazy mom. Overall, even if the reviews aren’t great and you have a school that benefits you because of something like location, check the school and go with what your heart and gut tell you. Sometimes, reviews aren’t a deal-breaker.
- Turnover – It’s important to me when thinking about what to look for in a daycare that teachers aren’t in and out of the classroom. Littles ones need consistency and routine for success. I think when a school has to have a new teacher in a classroom continuously, it says a lot about the school and management. When touring daycares, I specifically ask how long the classroom teacher (in Alyssa’s class) has been there. Currently, her teacher has been at the school for 21 years.
- Security Measures – Anthony’s number one concern is security. When touring daycares, his first question is, Are there any cameras we can see from our phones? Some yes, some say no. If you can find a center that has cameras you can watch from your phone, that is great! However, the reality is that some do not have that option. It’s not a deal-breaker as long as we are at peace when we tour the school. Currently, Alyssa is in a school with no cameras, but we were at peace with how everything was when we visited the school. You can overlook not being able to access cameras on your phone if you’re at peace with the school.
- Cleanliness – Little ones get sick no matter how clean the place is, well because of germs! However, when touring daycares, I need to walk into the preschool and feel like it is clean. The neater the school, the better. I know kids play with the toys and use the items all day long but TRUST me when I tell you, your parent heart will KNOW when the center is clean.
- Diversity – After security, this is next on Anthony’s list. As most of you know, we are a mixed family. Anthonys Haitian and I am Hispanic; however, the daycares that we tend to love usually are predominantly white. Which is fine. We both went to FSU, a predominantly white University. However, he likes for there to be a little diversity within her classroom and the school overall.
- Curriculum/ Routine – Curriculum and routine are critical, especially now with Alyssa being four and starting “Real” School in a few months. She must be somewhere she is learning and putting her creative brain to use. I don’t want her to attend anywhere where she is doing everything she could be doing at home all day. Yes, it important for her to go to school to be social, but I also want her to be learning. We ask for the curriculum of the school when touring daycares. We ask questions about it, such as, how can we keep up with what they are learning, and if there are extracurricular activities.
These are the most critical seven components of what to look for in a daycare that we went into when we were touring daycares for Alyssa. I hope it helps you! I know it’s so tricky when you’re looking for daycares for the first time, and every time after that because you want the best for your little one. Do your research + Follow your heart & everything will be okay!