What to look for when visiting a center


  • Is the program's license displayed in a visible location?
  • Are they in Keystone STARS or another accreditation program?



  • Do bathroom and food preparation areas look and smell clean?
  • Are there obvious health and safety hazards?
  • Are fire extinguishers and a fire-escape/emergency evacuation plan visible?



  • Are there soft spaces for reading, relaxing and quiet games as well as spaces for active play?
  • Are toys and materials developmentally appropriate and accessible?
  • Is the quantity of toys and materials sufficient?
  • Are the classroom furnishings child sized?
  • Are toys and materials respectful of children's culture/ethnicity?
  • Are staff and children's names posted in the room?



  • Do the children seem occupied, happy and engaged?
  • Are children allowed to make choices throughout the day?
  • Are staff in ratio?  (infants, 1:4; young toddlers 1:5; older toddlers 1:6; preschool 1:10)
  • Does each child receive individual attention?
  • Does staff seem respectful, patient and receptive to children's needs?
  • Does staff appear lively, smiling and positive?
  • Does staff sit and eat family style with children to encourage learning?



  • Do children have an opportunity to play outside each day?
  • Is outside play equipment sturdy and in good repair?
  • Are children supervised by staff at all times?
  • Do toddlers play separately from the older children?
  • Are outside areas for learning activities as well as free play?



  • Is a copy of the director's degree posted inside or outside the office?
  • Has the director completed the PA Director Credential?
  • Is the education level of staff posted?
  • Does staff have experience and education in early childhood development?
  • Does staff have current pediatric first-aid and fire safety certification?
  • Is ongoing training available?



  • Are parents welcomed in the program?  Are they respected?
  • Does staff communicate daily with parents about their child?
  • Is an observation completed within 45 days of a child's entry in the program?  Are results shared with parents, and used for individual child planning and referral to community resources?



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