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How to pick the best child-care arrangements for your child

How do parents decide what is the best child-care arrangement for their youngster? There are no set answers, insist various referral agencies. But these questions may be helpful in making a choice.

Do I feel comfortable in this place? Do the children seem relaxed, involved? Are they enjoying themselves?

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DO the adults treat the children with respect? How do they handle misbehavior? How do the children get along with each other?

Is the environment pleasant? Attractive? Inviting? Reasonably clean? Is there enough equipment indoors and out? And is it in good repair?

How much free choice of activities is there for the child? Does the program allow enough time for quiet play?

How much time does the teacher or "provider" spend in working with individuals? Does she/he have time for talking and listening to children?

Does the program include blocks, manipulative toys, dramatic play, language arts, music, singing, science, painting, clay, and climbing equipment?

What is served for snacks or meals? Is it nutritious?

Are fees and operating policies clearly explained?

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What sort of insurance coverage is there?

What is the educational background of the person or persons in charge? How do they feel about child development?

Do parents and staff have opportunities -- group meetings, individual conferences -- to exchange obsservations?

Are the children encouraged to feel good about themselves? Are they made aware of the rights of others?

Is this the rig ht place for my child?

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