Constructive Child Care Criteria

The care of our children is our top priority. We want to ensure that they are in a safe environment and being respected as individuals. We want to see that they are getting their social, emotional, mental and health needs met. There are a lot of great child care options available to us in Minnesota. But how to know if a particular caregiver is a good match for your child?

Minnesota Child Care Resource and Referral Network (CCRR) has created a list of criteria that a parent can use when beginning the search for quality childcare. Use this checklist to focus your observation of the caregiver, and to inform your decision-making in order to secure the kind of care you are comfortable with. CCRR has placed a video on their web site to help guide you through the questions you might have when considering these criteria.

Quality Child Care Checklist

  • Child care providers talk with children often and at their own level
  • Parents and child care providers communicate daily about the children’s well-being
  • Child care providers are knowledgeable and have been trained to care for children
  • Children are cared for in small groups and receive the attention they need from adults
  • The child care space is clean and the care provider has a plan in place to keep children safe and healthy
  • A variety of activities are planned throughout the day that are interesting and involve each child

Be sure to visit the provider, and take the time to observe how engaged the children are in the activities provided. If possible, find a child that has some of the same characteristics as your own child (for example: a very active child, a child slow to warm up to new acitivities, a child who is very talkative, a child who tends to daydream) and watch the way staff interact with that particular child. It will give you insight into how your own child will fare with this caregiver.

CCRR has created a rating system, called Parent Aware, for local child care options. It provides a starring system based on (research-based) practices shown to help promote school readiness and school success.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) sets professional standards for early childhood education programs and accredits programs based on these standards. They offer a list of their accredited programs.

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing the right child care option for your child and your family. Use the above information, and the resources that these organizations provide, to help you narrow in on the kind of care that is most comfortable for you.

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