A good daycare center has a small adult to child ratio, stability in terms of staff and daily routine, a balanced schedule of activities and a pleasant atmosphere. Evaluating centers based on this criteria is possible by talking to other parents, the childcare providers themselves and by observing the daily routine.
The ratio of caregivers to children is extremely important, as it determines the amount of care and attention available for the children. Generally, three or four infants per adult and seven to 10 older children per adult allows them to spend sufficient time with each child.
Limited staff turnover is also important for a good daycare. If caregivers are leaving after working for less than a year, it is a signal that working conditions may not be up to par. The instability of a changing staff is also problematic for children who should be able to form bonds with the adults.
Regularity is also important when it comes to the routine and daily schedule. Daycare centers should schedule playtime, homework time, mealtime and nap time in a way that children find satisfying and easy to follow.
Lastly, these activities should occur in an inviting, colorful, comfortable space. Natural light, organized toys and soft carpets or chairs are all hallmarks of good daycare centers.