How to Choose a Quality Child Care Program

Learn As You Grow’s

Guide for Parents

As They Choose a Child Care Center

If you are reading this then you are in the process of choosing an early education child care center for your family. There are many factors that a family should review, consider and weigh before deciding on which early education, child care center their family should attend. At Learn As You Grow, we have taken our more than 30 years of child care experience and developed this guide for parents who are in the process of choosing a child care center. Below are some questions to ask yourself and any prospective center as you tour as well as the reasons that make Learn As You Grow the first choice for so many families in Central New York.

First, before you get started, ask yourself what is important to you and your family situation.

Please take a minute to consider how you would rank the following.





While location and cost are certainly important considerations when choosing the location or provider your child goes to, the quality and safety of a program will have longer lasting effects.  Studies show that a quality early education program can help children get a head in school and in life.

What Sets Us Apart From The Others:

When touring other facilities ask about their compliance record with The Office of Children and Family Services. Licensed child care centers must have their compliance history posted. A compliance officer from the local OCFS office will regularly monitor each NYS licensed facility. At LAYG we take pride in having a compliance record that is one of the best in the state.

  • LAYG provides age-appropriate, individualized curriculum and classrooms

As you tour facilities ask about curriculum and programing for all age groups. Infant through school-age children should have curriculum-based activities and play opportunities that promote cognitive, social and emotional growth in age specific classrooms.

  • We have highly trained staff who receive ongoing, required OCFS and center based training

As a licensed facility, all child care staff are required to receive a certain number of training hours per year. When touring centers ask how frequently staff is trained. By following a training schedule, staff maintains not only the required hours but enhances the experience you and your child will have at that center.

  • 3 healthy and nutritious meals that are cooked at LAYG daily

Does the center you are touring serve meals?

If the answer is yes, ask to look at the center’s menus for the upcoming weeks. Ask what components will be served at each meal and the types of food served. Ask where the food is prepared and by whom. If the answer is no, compare pricing to see if the center is less expensive because you are providing your own meals. Also, ask how your child’s food will be stored when you bring it in? Does the center have policies and procedures in place for children with allergies?

  • MAT, CPR and first aid trained staff at all LAYG centers, at all times

Eventually your child may need medical attention. Does the center you are touring have trained staff that can address your child’s medical or illness needs present at all times? Can they administer medication or provide basic first aid care? NYS requires that even over-the-counter fever and pain reducers, such as acetaminophen, can be administered only by staff that has undergone the appropriate training.

  • We continue to provide baby food, formula, baby wipes, sunscreen; all program materials are included in the tuition

Ask about additional items you will have to bring in and supply for your child. As you begin to add up some of the required items your child will need to go to a center be aware that they may not be included in your child’s tuition.

  • We are open on snow days and observed holidays when schools are closed      

What days is the center closed and do they have a weather closing policy.

  • Universal Pre-Kindergarten implemented at all LAYG locations

As children begin to prepare for kindergarten, what steps does the center you are touring take in getting your child ready for kindergarten? What evaluation tools do they use? Are there progress reports that they use to communicate with you as parents? How are they preparing your child for kindergarten?

  • Each LAYG has fully equipped playgrounds and indoor gross motor activities for each age group to use multiple times a day

Physical activity multiple times a day is crucial for the health and development of young children. Ask the center what their outdoor and gross motor programing involves and how often the children get to participate in those activities.

  • LAYG has an Open Door Policy at all times  

What is the center’s policy on communicating with parents? What is the center’s policy for parents to communicate with the center? An open dialogue is critical with families as their child grows in the program; make sure the center you are touring has practices in place for communicating with you and for you to communicate with them.

  • Each classroom has abundant natural sunlight and bright cheerful rooms

When looking at centers make sure you are looking at the how the building is set up and the actual building, just as much as you look at the policies, procedures and curriculum of each location. The building will factor in to the over all quality of care your family will receive and experience.

  • LAYG prides itself on its commitment to our teaching staff. This is reflective in the staff’s commitment to our children and families. Some of our staff has been teaching at LAYG for more than 26 years.

Ask how long staff has worked at the center you are touring.

Although turn over is typically high at child care centers, as well as many other businesses, we pride ourselves on having staff that are committed and passionate about their jobs.

Finding the right early education child care center for your child and family can seem challenging. At Learn As You Grow we make the enrolling experience as easy as possible. As you tour centers and begin to gather information let us help you along the way. Please feel free to call or stop in at any time if you have more questions or even want to see the center again.

Thank you and again, please feel free to contact us at any time!

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