What Makes a Great Daycare

An insider's guide to choosing a high-quality program for your child.

It Takes a Village

Child Care: How to Find Quality Child Care
Child Care: How to Find Quality Child Care

It takes a village to raise a child: Hillary Clinton may have said it, but no one understands it more than a parent looking for quality daycare. From the caregivers to the administrators to the state licensing agents, everyone involved in a daycare's operation helps shape a child's experience. It's no surprise that finding a good daycare is a prime concern; for many families, it's a safe, affordable option that allows kids to socialize and learn in a loving environment structured around their needs. According to the Census Bureau, in 1999 more than one-fifth of children under age 5 were cared for in a daycare center. Nearly one-fifth more were enrolled in family daycare -- care provided outside the home by a nonrelative. But even though it's a popular option, finding the right daycare remains a huge challenge. The reasons are myriad, but one fact is clear: To find a great center, you need the insider's view. And we've talked to parents and experts to get it.

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