Ask Questions.
Pay Attention to the Answers.
Then Ask More.

Not sure where to start? I would recommend that you ask the ones that come immediately to mind first, regardless of whether or not they are on this list. If a question comes to you, it is important. Ask it.

Here are some others:

• How do you feel about your work?

• Why did you get into this profession?

• What education and experience do you have in early childhood education? **If you are interviewing at a center, make sure to find this out about each of the different staff members in the classroom that your child would be in and for the director and site supervisor as well.

• If you are interviewing a nanny, find out why she left her last position and follow-up with his or her last employer if possible.

• Find out what the provider or center’s discipline policy is. It is helpful to offer some specific situations that might arise to see how the provider or staff would respond. Their answers will tell you a lot. Some examples might be if one child hits another, takes a toy from another child or has a tantrum.

• You also what to know how a provider would handle it if your child cries all day, doesn’t want to take a nap or refuses to eat.

• How do they deal with separation anxiety?

• What routines do they have for meals and nap times?

• What is their philosophy and approach to toilet training?

• What is their sick child policy? If a child is ill, are they separated from the other children?

• You want to know what the schedule is and what activities and curriculum are implemented. How much time is spent on structured or group activities versus free play?

• Do they go outdoors each day? If so, do they leave the premises or is there an on-site playground?

• How are children supervised, both indoors and outdoors?

• What is the program’s policy on parent visits? **You should be able to visit any time during operating hours. If a center or provider tells you otherwise, move on.

• Will there be days that the center is closed for staff development?

• What on-going trainings or professional development does the provider or staff participate in?

• What holidays do they close for? Do they close for vacation?

• What age group(s) does the program provide care for? Are different age groups mixed or separated?

• What accommodations are made to include children with special needs?

• Is the program welcoming to children of all ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds?

Ask these questions. Listen to the provider’s answers. Observe the staff with the children. Talk to other parents currently in the program, get references and check them. Perhaps most importantly, trust your instincts.

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