What to Look For During a Preschool Tour

I n our last post we covered what high quality child care looks like, and most of the clues come from observing how your child reacts after they start going to daycare or preschool. In this post we will cover how you can evaluate a child care or preschool program before your child enrolls.

The daycare and preschool tour is a (maybe even the) key moment in the decision making process so it’s important that you do your homework before you visit (and make sure the preschool does theirs). Here’s how to make the most of your daycare tour:

1. Questions to ask while touring a daycare or preschool

Make a list of questions and print it out so you can bring it with you during your visit. It’s probably a good idea to email some or all of the questions ahead of time to make sure you get answers.

  • What type of license does the home or center have? (You may have to do some research on the licensing requirements in your state or city.)
  • How long has the director been there?
  • How long have the teachers been there?
  • Have the caregivers all gone through background checks?
  • What are the teachers’ educational backgrounds and qualifications? (Especially those who will care for your child.)
  • How often do directors and teachers communicate with parents? What is the feedback system? Is there a “real-time” online platform?
  • Can they give references to other parents? Important: if the director is not willing to give parent references, don’t waste your time. Next!

Prepare a list of any special requirements you might have. These may be, for example:

  • Special dietary needs
  • Allergies
  • Flexible scheduling for pick-ups and drop-offs
  • Budget for tuition

2. Talk with the director and staff

In addition to the preschool tour itself, make sure that you schedule time to talk with the owner, director and the staff. During the meetings, you should go over the specific answers to all your questions. Pay special attention to the staff turnover rate. You want to see well-qualified staff who are happy where they are. You don’t want to see a revolving door of teachers who come and go.

This meeting is also your chance to “suss out” the people to whom you will be entrusting your child’s care. There is no substitute for a good old-fashioned face-to-face conversation. This moment is also your chance to discuss tuition. If cost is a critical factor, let them know. The child care provider may be open to offering you a reduced rate.

3. Observe “the action” in the classrooms

Pay attention to the facilities but focus on the people. You’ll want to see teachers who have loving and respectful relationships with the children. Are the teachers supporting the children while they play? Are they talking with them while they change diapers? Do the teachers get to children’s eye level when speaking with them?

4. If possible, do a “trial run”

Not all child care and preschool programs offer so-called discovery days, but you should always ask. If the one you’re touring does, be sure to take advantage of it. Your child can participate for a few hours or even a full day and see how she likes it. Bear in mind that it’s not a perfect solution as most children take several days or even weeks to adjust to a new environment. It can, however, be a good “early indicator” of how things will go.

We can’t guarantee that the above four steps are foolproof, of course, but if you work through them carefully you have an excellent chance of finding a good fit for your child. Good luck!

What else do you look for during a daycare or preschool tour and what other questions do you recommend asking?

CareLuLu is the easiest way to find safe and affordable child care that fits your family’s specific needs. No need to spend hours on Google or calling daycares, you can now find all the information in one place: CareLuLu lists over 200,000 licensed daycare and preschool programs with verified parent reviews, photos, daycare cost, etc. Best of all, it’s free!

Created by parents for parents. www.CareLuLu.com


About the author



Leave a comment
  • Talking with the staff will give you and idea of what they are like. You are going to want to leave your child in the hands of friendly, compassionate, and trustworthy people. Talking to them should help you to figure out if they are like that or not. If not, you can go look around other facilities until you find the best one!

  • These are some great tips, and I appreciate your advice to ask questions while touring a preschool. My daughter is turning four in a few months, so my husband and I want to find a good preschool for her to attend. We’ll definitely make sure to tour a few places, and we’ll ask a lot of questions to get a feel for it. Thanks for the great post!

  • I think with something important as your children, it’s crucial to ask lots of questions when getting a feel for a preschool. I’ve never heard of discovery days before, so I thought that was interesting. From what I hear though, it takes a little while to get your child used to daycare. Thanks for the info and tips!

  • Great post! Thank you for helping me what to look out for when touring a preschool. I really liked how you said that”The daycare and preschool tour is a (maybe even the) key moment in the decision-making the process so it’s important that you do your homework before you visit (and make sure the preschool does theirs).”. The preschool that I went to really helped me to develop good study skills and has helped me to be the student that I am today.

  • Cool post! Thanks for the help on finding the best pre school. I like how you said to ” Pay attention to the facilities but focus on the people. You’ll want to see teachers who have loving and respectful relationships with the children.” I have seen many people choose pre-schools because they looked good from the outside but their kids were treated poorly and learned nothing. Hopefully others can avoid that from happening and read/use these tips.

  • I am looking into a children’s program like daycare. I will focus on the teachers and the children in how they act around each other and see if they are respectful. I never thought about if the teacher gets to eye level with the student. That is something I will need to pay attention to more.

  • That’s a good idea to make sure that a preschool can be flexible with your schedule. Not everyone can pick up a child at one specific time. I’ll have to look into that when my child is old enough for preschool. I hope we can do a “trial run” as well, so that we can see how well he adjusts to the new environment.

  • These are some great things to look for in a preschool. My oldest is about that age and we want her to have a good experience. I like your tip on observing the action in the classroom. Watching how the teachers interact will be a great indicator of the kind of service you’ll get.

  • I’m really glad that you mentioned how there are certain preschools that offer trial runs for parents who are thinking of hiring their services. That seems like a great way to find a good preschool that my son will enjoy going to. Watching how the program runs and how he interacts with the other kids there will allow me to see what he’ll be doing every day and how he enjoys it at different programs. Thanks for the tips!

  • Totally agree with all these points. An other thing to look for is if the center has cameras and easy access to view them. COA has cameras in all our classrooms and has an app so you can always monitor your child.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>