I have worked in 3 childcare centers for a total of 6 almost 7 years. I've seen the good the bad and the ugly of day-cares. I have the inside scoop. So what should a parent look for? How should you go about finding a daycare? Well ask your friends, look the centers up online,and use your states family and protective services website to look up the centers rating. (For Texas go to http://www.dfps.state.tx.us.
One of the most important things to consider is the workers. What the education level/experience? Do they like children? * Yes, I realize that seems like a silly question. However with the high turnover rate and low requirements sometimes people just take the job to have a job.* Make sure you meet the person that will be your child's teacher. Also, it helps to meet the teachers that teach one class younger and one class level older. I say this because sometimes ratios are off and a child may be bumped up or down until the ratio gets balanced. Look at the teacher, is she dressed in something that will allow her to play with the children? Does she have 5 inch long talons? * Yes, I've seen it * Also look at the turnover rate, how long has that teacher been there.
For the most part look for a daycare teacher that smiles when your child comes in to the room, someone that makes an effort to get to know your child, and trust your gut on this. This is the person you're entrusting your child with for at most 12 hours a day, 5 days a week.
When on the tour of the center, look around, ask questions and listen to whom every is giving the tour. I personally think you should visit the center twice or three times. Try to go at different times of the day too. Keep in mind that mornings until 9am are busy, lunch is usually between 11-12 with nap time beginning at 12:30 and ending at 2:30, and 3 to close is also busy with kids coming in from school and other children leaving for the day. I personally would go at 9am, 2pm and 4pm. This would give you a great sense of what your child's day would be like.
I hope this helps someone and please ask any questions you may have. I'll be writing part two later this week.