As part of a week-long series on the state of child care, CBC News offers this checklist of things to look for when choosing a daycare.
1. Cleanliness: The facility is clean and in good repair.
2. Inspections: Ask for the facility's latest inspection report. It outlines health and safety violations that were found on the last visit from an inspection officer. This is publicly available information, so if they refuse to show you the report, you can ask for it from your local health authority.
3. Observations: Take some time to observe the care provider at work. Are you comfortable with how they interact with the children? Are they warm and nurturing?
4. Activities: Look for a variety of toys and equipment (books, art supplies, etc.).
5. Security: Sufficient security to make sure children don't wander off on their own.
6. Napping: Ensure the facility includes a well-organized and comfy napping space.
7. Washrooms: Accommodations for children in the washrooms (ie. child-sized toilets).
8. Nutrition: Ask about the food that will be provided. What do the children eat on a daily basis? Where does the food come from?
9. Resources: Get in touch with your local Child Care Resource and Referral Program. It works in partnership with your community and the government to help you access child care.
10. Gut instinct: Trust your gut. If the environment is comfortable, and you had a enjoyable time there, it will likely be the same for your child.
(Sources: Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre, Fraser Health Authority, Ministry of Children and Family Development.)