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Quality Indicators

Environment
  • Good lighting
  • Rooms occupied by children are clean, attractive, safe, roomy and comfortable
  • Enough toys, games and materials so that children don’t have to wait to use them
  • Space for each child’s belongings, including a change of clothing
  • A safe outdoor play area, both shaded and open with a variety of age appropriate equipment free of hazards that offers space to run, tumble and play
  • A book center with good picture books
  • A parent information board
  • Sturdy, child-size furniture
  • Windows low enough for a child to look outside with appropriate safety barriers
  • Games, arts and crafts, sports and dramatic play for children of all ages
  • A separate crib cot or nap mat for each child
  • Games, arts and crafts, sports and dramatic play for children of all ages
  • A separate crib, cot, or nap mat for each child
  • Quiet, dark and separate nap area
  • Are pets present in the facility? If so, will this impact your decision?
Program
  • A posted schedule of daily activities
  • Good balance between planned activities that are age appropriate and time for free and active play
  • Time for conversation, reading, listening to music, homework, or being alone
  • Activities are interesting, fun and challenging where children can learn by doing and can succeed
  • Children work cooperatively on projects and games to solve problems
  • Children make music and/or listen to music, sing and laugh
  • Infants, when not asleep, are out of the crib and included in age appropriate activities
  • Caregiver (s) play with, sing to, hold, and cuddle each child often throughout the day
  • Caregiver (s) meet regularly to plan and evaluate their program
Policies
  • Up-to-date state license or registration is always posted
  • Parents are actively involved, given opportunities to participate, and welcome to visit at any time
  • Written discipline policy eliminating spanking, shaking, or hurting a child in any way
  • Emergency procedures are posted
  • Policy for handling sick children
  • Holidays and hours of operation are clearly posted
Staff
  • Warm, nurturing, friendly, accepting and patient
  • Caregiver (s) with training and experience (regulated providers required 30 hours of training every 2 years; accredited programs have higher standards than State licensing regulations and usually a higher quality program)
  • Director and head teacher with college level training in early childhood education (in a Day Care Center or School Age Child Care program)
  • Caregiver (s) work as a team (what is their staff turnover? Low staff `turnover may indicate higher quality program since there has been stability and consistency in the program)
  • Caregiver (s) comfort a sad or angry child in a loving way
  • Caregiver (s) offer positive guidance when a child misbehaves
  • Individual needs of children are being met
  • Words of sincere praise and encouragement are given
  • Caregiver (s) encourage children to learn new skills
  • Caregiver (s) are energetic and in control, while being flexible and fun
Nutrition
  • Well-balanced, nutritious meals
  • Pleasant and sociable meal times
  • Infants and toddlers are encouraged to feed themselves
  • Caregiver (s) sit at table with children during meal times
  • Infants held during bottle feeding, and are fed according to their needs and individual schedules
  • Bottles are refrigerated until needed, and used promptly
  • Left over formula discarded at the end of the day
  • Program accommodates special diet needs
Parent Involvement
  • Parents are allowed to visit any time
  • Caregiver (s) inform parents about their children’ successes and about activities for the day (such as nap schedule, meals, etc)
  • Parents may make suggestions about menus, activities and program
  • Parents are encouraged to participate in the program
  • A parent newsletter and/or bulletin board Parents Events occur on a regular basis
  • Regularly scheduled parent meetings
Diaper and Toilet Routines
  • Child-size toilets and sinks
  • Diapers changed without delay after they are soiled, and infants are thoroughly cleaned after the dirty diaper is removed
  • Changing table surface disinfected after each baby is changed
  • Caregiver (s)’ and baby’s hands washed after changing each baby’s diaper
  • Toileting begins only when the child is physically ready, interested and able to understand the process of using the toilet
  • Parents involved in the decision to begin toilet training for their children
  • Toilet training as a positive, pleasant part of toddler’s day
Health and Safety
  • Children are supervised by care giver(s) at all times
  • A first-aid trained staff member at the center at all times
  • A smoke free environment (even when children are not present)
  • A well maintained supply of fire extinguishers, first aid kits, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in the facility
  • Toys and equipment are clean, sanitized and in good repair (for example: free from sharp edges, splinters, paint chips and loose parts)
  • A written health record is kept for each child
  • Children will be released to another person only if you have given written permission in advance
  • Area that is used for food preparation and eating is clean and sanitary
  • Written procedures for reporting suspected cases of child abuse and neglect by parents or caregiver (s)
  • Written policy stating that medication will only be given to children by a care giver who is certified to administer medication
  • Written policy for handling sick children
  • Diapering/toilet areas clean, free from odor, well-ventilated and removed from the feeding area
  • Pads and blankets changed and laundered daily or more often as needed
  • All children and caregiver (s) wash their hands after using the toilet, before eating and as needed throughout the day
Warning Signs
  • The program does not encourage parents to visit or observe
  • The children move about without any guidance or involvement for 30 minutes or more
  • The caregiver (s) spend most of their time scolding or yelling at the children
* Be sure to check with other parents for references about a provider (s) or call the Regional Office for a history of violations, 716-847-3828. The website listed below can also be accessed for history on the provider as to whether the provider has had any compliance issues. Please note that you can obtain a copy of the NYS Child Care Regulations by contacting our office or visit the Office of Children and Family Services website at http://ocfs.ny.gov/ .