Choosing child care is one of the most important decisions make for their young children. There are excellent resources for parents to help in your search for child care: http://www.del.wa.gov/publications/development/docs/choosingchildcare.pdf and http://www.oppco.org/ccrr/families.htm for local child care referral.
After three decades working in child care (teacher, director, consultant, and trainer) I have some additional suggestions:
*Check out programs first without your child and bring her/him to the finalist only (that way you won’t be distracted or your child confused)
*Be sure the program is licensed by the state but remember it shows y just that minimum requirements have been met (NAEYC accreditation is a sign of high quality center , for more info see http://families.naeyc.org/find-quality-child-care )
*Visit at least twice on separate days and times –remember every visit is just a snapshot of a moment in time and things may vary a lot at different times)
*The consistency and skills of the person caring for your child is crucial. How long your child’s potential teacher(s) been employed? Do employees get benefits? What’s the turnover rate? Is the teacher a good role-model (since she is who your child will be imitated)?
*What’s the environment like? Is the atmosphere home-like and would you be comfortable there all day? Do the kids seem happy and engaged? (some sites are over stimulating while other too barren)
*Check references but listen to your gut since your intuition plus recommendations. You can also see if complaints have been made about a facility at https://apps.del.wa.gov/check/CheckSearch.asp