Where to Start?

Choosing a child care program that is right for your family can be challenging and feel overwhelming. Remember, we are in this together. The simple steps below are a good place to start.

Step 1: Start by considering areas you can get to conveniently.

Step 2: Think about what you can afford.
For financial support click here.

Step 3: Schedule some visits! Read about what to look for during your visit below.

Schedule a Visit

Note how teachers are interacting with children.

Do children and teachers appear to be engaged with each other?

Is there a safe place to play outside?

Is the facility clean and organized?

Ready to Find a Center?

Try narrowing your search for locations of child care centers close to home.

You can also contact your local Early Learning Resource Center.  They can connect you to certified child care facilities and give you information about options for any economic level.

When looking for a high quality education center, I would always go with my first impression of the room. I look around the room and really listen to what I hear. Are the children laughing? Are the teachers talking calmly to the children? Is there background music playing? I also look for what activities the teachers are doing. Are they walking around the room interacting with the children, talking to them? I want to hear open-ended questioning and true, authentic, conversations going on. After I observe for a while, I want to see the director to ask about certificates that they hold. For example, are they NAEYC Accredited or hold a Star certificate (and at what star level)? When I complete my initial visit I then ask to bring my child in and let them play and see how they feel in the center. Ultimately, we both have to have a goodness of fit with the center to be successful.
- Shawnee Hooper, M.Ed.
Preschool Specialist
PAKEY