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How to Choose

How to Choose a Program

Visit the Program

  • Call and ask if you can visit the program or provider.  High quality programs welcome visitors. 
  • Visit the program and/or home, and be sure to spend time in the classroom and other areas that your child will use, such as the playground.
  • If you’re visiting a home-based provider, ask about outside play space.

What to Look For on your Visit

  • Are the children supervised at all times, indoors and out?  Children who feel safe and secure in their learning environments will thrive.
  • Is the staff warm and friendly?  Staff should consider the strengths, interests, and needs as well as the home language and culture of the children in their care.
  • Are the children actively engaged in learning activities and do they look happy?  Activities should be challenging yet achievable for the children, and there should be opportunities for children to talk about what they’re doing with each other and their teachers.
  • Are there plenty of age and developmentally appropriate toys and equipment, such as blocks, puzzles, books, clay, musical instruments, and activities to help the children develop and learn?
  • Talk to the teachers and providers.  Do they have good listening skills and can you see yourself working in a partnership with them?  Quality programs engage families in young children’s early care and education experiences.

Questions to Ask

  • What are the hours of operation?
  • Can I walk in at any time?  (The answer should be yes!)
  • What languages are spoken?
  • Does my child need to be toilet trained in order to attend?
  • Do I need to bring diapers or other supplies?
  • Is there a curriculum that the program follows? What topics support children’s development and learning?  (Programs and providers should create a safe and nurturing environment that promotes children’s physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development).
  • Is there someone who helps with children’s transition to kindergarten or the classroom my child will go to next year?
  • What are the fees? Lower-income families may be eligible for free or low-cost child care or an income tax credit.

Have more questions?

NYC’s Child Care Resource and Referral Consortium can also help. Learn more by visiting their website or calling 1(888) 469-5999.