Teacher paints with two children

Choosing a Preschool Program

Choosing a child care program for your child can be stressful. As a parent of a Preschooler you'll want to carefully select child care. Use this guide along with the Quality Indicator checklist to evaluate programs you are considering for your child. Call us toll free at 800-407-5437 or at 330-376-7706 with any questions. If you prefer a checklist that you can take with you when researching child care facilities, feel free to print out the pdf using the link below.


What to Look for When Choosing a Preschool Program

Daily Schedule

  • Is the daily schedule posted and does it indicate the activities which will be included in the day?
  • Is there time for active and quiet play; time for outdoor play when the weather is nice?
  • Is there a balance between teacher-directed activities and child-directed activities?
  • Is television/computer time limited and supervised?
  • Are children free to choose their own activities?


  • Does each child have his/her own cot?
  • Is nap/rest time peaceful and relaxing?
  • Is nap/rest time suited to the needs of each child?
  • Is the room darkened and soothing attention given to each child as he/she falls asleep?


  • Does the director of the preschool program have a degree or coursework in early childhood development?
  • Does the staff member:
    • Greet the child and parent warmly?
    • Laugh with, talk to, and listen to each child?
    • Use positive discipline?
    • Give love and attention to each child?
    • Work well with other adults?
    • Participate in on-going, in-service training on issues relating to the care of the children?
    • Share the same views on discipline and toilet training as you do?
    • Encourage independence?


  • Are there a variety of objects to stimulate the senses of sight, hearing, and touch?
  • Are the toys appropriate to the ages of the children?
  • Are the toys large enough to avoid being a choking hazard?
  • Are tables and chairs child sized?
  • Are toys and materials easy for children to reach?
  • Are there toys for different kinds of play?
    • puzzles
    • blocks
    • art supplies
    • balls
    • music
    • sand and water
    • science experiments
    • dress-up clothes
    • riding toys

Meals & Snacks

  • Are nutritious meals and snacks provided?
  • Are the meal times relaxed and enjoyable?
  • Are good health habits encouraged, i.e. hand washing before eating?
  • Are individual children's cultural and religious food preferences met, if requested?

Toilet Training

  • Is the toileting area clean, well ventilated, odor-free, and located away from eating areas?
  • Is toileting included in the daily schedule as a natural and pleasant part of a day's activities?
  • Are accidents treated casually as a natural part of the learning process?


  • Is the center bright, cheerful, and clean?
  • Is the sound level moderate - not too loud yet not too quiet?
  • Is there a designated place for each child to keep his/her possessions?
  • Is there enough space indoors and out so all children can move about freely and safely?
  • Is the child's artwork displayed and is it at the child's eye level?
  • Are cleaning supplies and other dangerous substances locked out of reach of children?
  • Are safety procedures followed?
  • Are there lots of pillows and mats for soft, cozy areas; carpets and tile areas for a variety of experiences?
  • Are electrical outlets covered?
  • Are there gates at stairwells and doorways?
  • Are there smoke detectors and fire extinguishers?
  • Are there at least two exits to the outside?

Health & Safety

  • Is there a medical emergency and evacuation plan posted?
  • Is an operable phone on the premises?
  • Is there an updated first aid kit containing:
    • scissors
    • sterile gauze pads and surgical tape
    • thermometer (auxiliary use only)
    • bandages
    • medicine dropper or spoon
  • Are the children's health records complete and on file?
  • Are emergency phone numbers and the parent's emergency numbers posted by the phone?
  • Are fire drills practiced and a list kept with dates and times?
  • Are the guidelines for management of communicable disease posted?
  • Are ill children isolated, supervised, and parents called immediately?


The state of Ohio licenses early childhood programs and certain types of family child care providers. The state sets minimum standards for health and safety, staff qualifications, program requirements, and nutritious meals. The day care licensing law limits the number of children that may be cared for by one staff person.

One person may care for no more than:

8 Children Ages 30 months - 35 months
12 Children 3 years old but not yet 4
14 Children 4 years through Kindergarten


  • Is the prgoram licensed by the State of Ohio or approved by the State of Ohio Department of Education?
  • Is the license ¬†posted for your review?
  • Is the home provider licesned through the County Department of Job and Family Services or participating in the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program?
  • If the home provider cares for more than six children, is it licensed by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services?
  • Is the home provider listed with Child Care Connection (Call 330-376-7706 or 1-800-407-KIDS for verification.)


Ask for references from each center. Call these references yourself. Be sure they seem satisfied with the center. Listen to the tone of voice as well as the answer to your questions. Ask questions such as:

  • Is this center reliable and responsible?
  • What did you like the most/least about this center?
  • Would you choose this center again?
  • Did your child like this center?


What are the program policies?

  • How are children enrolled?
  • Is there a credit for vacations?
  • Is there a refund for sick days?
  • Are you comfortable with the discipline policy?
  • Are parents welcome at all times?
  • May the child visit the classroom before enrolling?
  • What is the policy on transportation of children?


Child Care Connection does not endorse, rate, recommend, or evaluate child care resources, programs, or providers and therefore, Child Care Connection does not assume, warrant, or guarantee quality care. Any information about a caregiver/provider has been provided solely by that caregiver/provider. Child Care Connection believes that consumers are in the best position to evaluate and choose resources appropriate to their child's needs.

CCC - Bouncing Ball