Questions to Ask When Choosing a Childcare Centre

Your choice of childcare centre is one of the most important decisions you will ever make.

A quality early education is a crucial foundation for a child’s healthy development, but it can be a daunting task making the final decision on where to send your little one. 

Every family has priorities and preferences and there may also be several different options available to you in your area – making a difficult decision even tougher.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of questions to ask and issues to cover when you’re visiting prospective childcare centres.  And as the saying goes, forewarned is forearmed, so it’s a good idea to discuss these questions with your family beforehand to clarify your expectations and get a handle on what information is important to you. 

And remember, any childcare centre worth their salt won’t mind you asking questions at all.  In fact, they’ll welcome the discussion.  They know just how important it is that everyone is happy and that you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.

General areas of discussion when visiting a prospective childcare centre

Topics you will want to cover are:

  • The centre’s educational approach or philosophy
  • The facilities and the educators
  • The curriculum
  • The daily routine
  • Feedback and communication
  • Parental involvement
  • Resources for parents and caregivers
  • Nutrition
  • Emergency procedures

There may be other areas which are of specific interest to you that you would want to discuss with a prospective childcare centre.  These could include things like the school’s sustainability practices, cultural integration, the centre’s policy on incursions, specialised resources if a child has additional challenges etc.

Questions to ask when choosing a childcare centre

It may be helpful to print out the following list of questions so you can make notes or additions ahead of your meeting.

The centre’s educational approach or philosophy

  • What pedagogical methodology do you follow?  (Examples are Reggio Emilia and Montessori)
  • Is it a play-based model?
  • How do you encourage each individual child’s learning journey?

The facilities and educators

  • What are your centre’s opening hours?
  • How are the premises secured, including access control? 
  • How does the drop-off and pick-up system work?
  • How does the centre handle separation anxiety?
  • How are children of different ages accommodated (eg pre-school, kindergarten etc?)
  • How many children are at the school?
  • What are the outdoor facilities like?
  • What is the teacher to child ratio?

The daily routine

  • What does a ‘normal’ day at your school look like?
  • Are there set times for eating, sleeping, playing outside etc? 
  • What is the centre’s policy on rest and sleep?  Is it a structured routine or based on the individual child’s needs?
  • How often will my child be monitored during nap time?
  • What are the toileting procedures?
  • What is the centre’s policy on screen time?
  • Do you provide a checklist as to what my child must bring to school each day?  (For example, do they need to pack a change of clothes, a special toy or comforter, their own nappies etc?)
  • How do you practise sun safety?

The curriculum

  • Do you follow a prescribed curriculum?
  • Is yours a traditional approach where children learn by instruction, or do you follow a child-centric curriculum where each individual child directs their own learning?
  • How do you go about teaching children essential skills such as gross and fine motor skills, numeracy, language skills etc?
  • How do you encourage individual learning and discovery at your centre?
  • Will my child ‘be prepared’ for big school?
  • What qualifications, training and experience do your educators have?
  • Do they undergo continuing professional development?
  • How does your centre operate in terms of management etc?

Feedback and communication

The facilities and the educators

  • How do I get updated on my child’s progress?
  • How do you communicate with parents?  Include both formal and informal ways of interacting with parents.
  • How will I know if my child is experiencing any difficulties at the centre? 

Parental involvement

  • Are there opportunities for parents and caregivers to participate in activities at the school?
  • Does the centre see parents as partners and collaborators in their child’s education?

Resources for parents and caregivers

  • Are there blogs and articles on relevant topics available to parents?


  • Does the centre provide snacks and lunch or do I need to pack their own food?
  • If you do provide food, what do the centre’s menus look like?
  • How and where is the food prepared?
  • How are special dietary needs, allergies and food intolerances accommodated?

Emergency procedures

  • What happens if there’s an emergency at the centre?
  • What’s the procedure if my child gets sick during the day?

A last piece of advice on choosing a childcare centre

Here at Evoke Early Learning, we understand what a huge decision this is.  Whether it’s choosing a separate nursery, toddler or kindergarten programme or an early education centre that caters for 0-5 year olds at the same premises, taking that step is big for parents and for the child.

You want to find the right place for your child and for your family.  You want to ensure that it’s a happy, safe, secure and loving environment where every individual is nurtured and where their development is supported by proven educational principles and facilities and staff of the highest quality.  You want to know they’ll be getting the best possible start to prepare them for school and for success in their later lives too.  That’s why it’s so important to ask lots of questions and dive deep into the detail before making a final decision.

And if you would like to find out more about our Evoke Early Learning centres in Albert Park and Clayton, you’re welcome to book a tour.  We’d love to meet you, answer your questions and show you around our safe and nurturing environments which have been carefully curated to promote knowledge and inspire a life-long love of learning.

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