Ten Tips for Choosing a Daycare That’s Right for You

7 min read
March 25, 2024

As RIA owners you face a multitude of choices and decisions every day. As a parent, choosing the right childcare center for your little one is one of the most important decisions you'll make. With so many options available, it can be challenging to determine which facility will provide the best care and support for your child's growth and development

In most childcare settings you will find very similar environments, schedules, routines, and policies. The most important aspect of childcare to keep in mind is what your individual family’s needs are and how the childcare setting can consistently fit into your family and child’s specific needs. Below you’ll find ten things to consider when looking for childcare.

#1. Tuition

Tuition is one of the biggest determining factors when considering childcare, especially since childcare costs have significantly risen within the past few years. Some centers have a higher tuition cost because the ratio of teachers to children is much higher than an in-home program with fewer children being cared for. With that being said, centers tend to offer a more structured setting for children to learn in more of a school-type setting. In-home programs are much smaller and are usually based out of the owner’s home where children are cared for or other smaller facilities that host a smaller amount of children. Since centers offer a more similar school experience, they tend to have higher tuition rates to pay teachers a higher salary.

#2. Schedule and Enrollment Availability

Schedule availability is also important to determine if a childcare setting is the right fit for families. Most childcare settings are open Monday through Friday from 7:30 AM-5:30 PM, and some may offer extended hours. When touring childcare facilities it is important to ask about waitlist availability and how quickly a family could receive care. Some waitlists can be months, if not years, out on availability so it is very important to determine when enrollment can take place. 

#3. Environment

Classroom and center environments are very important to consider whether a child will successfully thrive, learn, and grow or if it is not the right fit for the child and family. Some children thrive in bigger childcare environments and others might need a smaller program with fewer children and teachers to be successful. 

#4. Teacher Qualifications

Teacher qualifications are what can make or break a childcare program. The childcare field is one of the hardest and most physical fields out there. Teachers are usually underpaid without benefits or paid time off, which can lead to burnout quickly. This causes high turnover of staff, which can make it difficult to keep programs open and functioning. Childcare centers that offer competitive salaries with benefits tend to keep high-quality teachers for a much longer time period. Teacher credentials and professionalism are important to determine the quality of education the child will receive during his/her time in childcare. 

#5: Policy and Procedures 

Many childcare facilities have a documented set of policies and procedures that are implemented in the program. Most of the time, these policies and procedures will be located on their website, in parent handbooks, and physically posted in the facility. More than just the program’s policies, procedures, and implementations of those procedures, though, they are an opportunity to be sure you and the center are on the same “parenting page.”  It’s your opportunity to be sure you align on everything from developmental activities to illness, safety, and disciplinary policies. 

#6: Location

Location can determine if a childcare facility is the right fit for a family or not. Most families looking for childcare would prefer to have their childcare provider close to their home or work in case of an emergency.

#7: Licensing

Licensing is also important to consider because if a facility is licensed, state-wide inspections, teacher training, and paperwork must be diligently filled out every year to meet licensing requirements. This can also be an indicator of the quality of care that a childcare facility provides.

#8: Safety Measures

Safety measures go along with licensing protocols as well. Whether it is infant safety protocols, playground equipment safety, or the overall safety of children, this must all be considered when touring a facility. Asking how monthly drills (i.e. fire drills, shelter in place, etc.) are performed can determine how seriously the facility takes the overall safety of children. 

#9: Cleanliness

Cleanliness can also tie in with safety measures and licensing. Certain cleaning protocols must be followed to meet state regulations. From cleaning tables and chairs to diaper changing stations, cleanliness is extremely important to ensure all teachers and children stay as healthy as possible. 

#10: Curriculum

The type of curriculum being taught at childcare facilities can determine the quality of education that’s provided and how well children will learn and grow during their time in a learning environment. Most centers use a universal type of curriculum and others write their own. Here in Montana, where XY Learning Center is located, the curriculum should follow the Montana Early Learning Standards to ensure all areas of development are progressing the way they should be for each age group. Ages and Stages Questionnaires® are implemented to record progress or delays in development for all children according to his/her age. Not all centers are required to perform assessments in classrooms, but they are very helpful to have on hand to determine how well each child is developing in each classroom of the facility. The lead teacher of each classroom usually completes these assessments since they are the ones who work directly alongside children enrolled in their classroom.

All childcare facilities are different, it is just a matter of finding a facility that is right for your family as a whole. At XY Learning Center, we understand the significance of this decision, which is why we're proud to highlight what sets us apart from other childcare providers:

Passionate and Dedicated Staff: Our team of educators and caregivers are not just employees – they're passionate individuals dedicated to providing the highest quality of care and education to every child. With a wealth of experience and expertise in early childhood development, our staff members create a nurturing and stimulating environment where children can thrive.

Individualized Attention: We recognize that every child is unique, with their own strengths, interests, and developmental needs. That's why we prioritize individualized attention, tailoring our programs and activities to meet each child's specific requirements. Whether your child is a budding artist, a curious scientist, or a little adventurer, we celebrate their uniqueness and support their journey of discovery.

Comprehensive Curriculum: Our curriculum is designed to inspire curiosity, creativity, and a love for learning. Grounded in research-based practices and developmental milestones, our programs encompass a wide range of activities and experiences that promote cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development. From hands-on exploration to guided play and structured learning activities, we provide a well-rounded educational experience that prepares children for future success.

Safe and Secure Environment: The safety and well-being of our students are our top priorities. Our child care center maintains rigorous safety protocols and procedures to ensure a secure environment for all children. From secure entry systems and fenced outdoor play areas to regular safety drills and CPR-certified staff members, we go above and beyond to provide parents with peace of mind knowing their children are in safe hands.

Open Communication and Partnership: We believe in building strong partnerships with parents and families to support each child's growth and development. Our open-door policy encourages ongoing communication between parents and educators, fostering a collaborative approach to childcare. Whether it's sharing daily updates, scheduling parent-teacher conferences, facilitating monthly parent social events, or providing resources and support, we're here for you every step of the way.

Community Engagement: We understand the importance of fostering a sense of community and belonging for both children and families. That's why we actively engage with our local community through events, activities, and partnerships with other organizations. By creating opportunities for children to connect with their peers and families to connect with one another, we cultivate a supportive and inclusive community that enriches the lives of all involved.

At XY Learning Center, we're committed to providing an exceptional childcare experience that goes above and beyond. With a passionate and dedicated staff, individualized attention, comprehensive curriculum, safe environment, open communication, and community engagement, we strive to create a nurturing and enriching environment where every child can thrive.

In the Bozeman area and searching for a child care center that prioritizes your child's growth, development, and well-being? We invite you to schedule a tour and experience the difference firsthand. We look forward to welcoming you and your family into our community!

Your firm, your terms. It can be done. Show me how.

Kelly LimbergKelly Limberg, MS

Kelly Limberg grew up in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and moved to Bozeman, Montana in the summer of 2018. Kelly is a highly experienced childcare professional with a Master's degree in Child Developmental Psychology and an undergraduate degree in Clinical Psychology, along with 15+ years of practical experience in the childcare field. As the Director of a leading childcare facility, XY Learning Center, she blends academic expertise with practical experience to create nurturing environments for children, families, and staff to thrive. Committed to evidence-based practices and community advocacy, Kelly Limberg is dedicated to empowering children to reach their full potential through inclusive and enriching programs. During her free time, you can find Kelly skiing and exploring the mountains, which is what drove her to the area in the first place.

Laura RodasLaura Rodas

I am originally from Chicago, but have lived in Bozeman since 2015. I graduated with my undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education and Child Services in 2018. I have been in the childcare field for 11 years now, and have found that working directly with children is where I thrive the most. Now as the assistant director of XY Learning Center I have found that my work with children has changed a bit since I now oversee the entire center. My top priority at the center is to provide extra support to children and staff to ensure that the center is running efficiently and at its greatest potential.

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