Your first visit to an early childhood education center will tell you a lot about what kind of facility it is. Keep in mind that you should be visiting at least three different centers or even more than that, depending on how many names you had on your list.
Because of this, you’re going to take in a lot of different information and it all may start to blend together at some point. When it’s time to go home and think about which one you’re ultimately going to choose, you might find that you can’t remember which one had the Active Room that you thought your child would like so much.
To help deal with this confusion, and make sure you have all the right information, bring along a notebook and a pen during your first visit to the early childhood education center and don’t be afraid to take notes while you’re there. It will help you keep it all straight in the end! Here are some things you might want to be watching for, and taking notes about:
- Is it clean? Are there any noticeable safety hazards?
- Do the children seem happy? Do they seem to be enjoying the activities they’re doing? What activities are they doing?
- Is the staff warm, friendly, and interacting with the children?
- If applicable, is the license clearly posted?
- Do the children have enough room to play, stretch out, sit, and walk comfortably?
- Are there napping facilities? Are they clean and quiet?
- Are there toilet facilities? Are they clean and well kept?
- Is there an area outside where the children can play?
- Does the equipment look up to date? Is the furniture in good condition?
- Do the children have an opportunity for both structured and unstructured activity? Quiet time and active time?
- Are there toys and books available suitable for children of all ages that attend the day care?
Once you’ve made your initial first impression, you can then sit down with the supervisor and talk a little more in-depth about the center, its policies, and programs. You’ll have an extensive list of questions and you don’t want to be rushed through them, so ask the supervisor if there’s a better time for them to talk. They may be able to answer all of your questions during this first visit, but you do want to be respectful of their time if they can’t. When they are ready, prepare a list of questions that you should consider asking about.