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Five Things to Look for in a Quality Childcare Program

By Carissa Knoles, M.A., ECE
Quality Improvement Consultant, Bib to Backpack Team at United Way for Southeastern Michigan
Learning starts long before kindergarten, and quality childcare and preschool programs can help kids succeed
in school, work and life. GreatStartToQuality.org makes it easy for families to identify quality
child care and preschool, helping them get the best of their child and the most
for their money.   
Ask the following
questions when considering quality in childcare and preschool programs:
Staff Qualifications and Professional Development
Do caregivers have a college degree? Have they attended or are they taking college
classes? Have they obtained a Child Development Associate or Montessori credential, and/or have they participated in training relevant to child development and/or
child care topics?  
Family and Community Partnerships
How do
caregivers help parents learn more about how their children learn and grow? Do they meet with parents to talk about their
children’s development? How do program
staff let parents know about places in the community that can help them when
they need assistance and support children’s transitions to kindergarten and
other programs?
Administration and Management 
Does the program
have a written contract that they provide to all enrolled families? Are there written expectations for staff, if
applicable, and yearly staff evaluations as well as benefits for staff?
Environment 
Is the location free of safety
hazards and is the program in good standing with licensing? You can learn more about licensing statuses by clicking here. Also, are nutritionally sound meals offered as well as nutrition education to
families?  Do providers track children’s
health?

Curriculum and Instruction
Do providers have a
mission statement for their program, follow a flexible daily schedule and use
curriculum that helps them make decisions about the daily routine? Do providers use a research-based screening
and assessment tool and share information with parents at parent-teacher
conferences throughout the year?

The moments between the bib and the backpack make all the
difference for school readiness and lifelong success. Let’s make them count by
choosing high quality early learning. 
Visit www.bibtobackpack.org
for more resources to empower you to give your children a great start!

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