Posted in Parenting, Pre-Parenting

Top Resources for the Child Care & Preschool Search

Finding Child Care or Preschools can be tough!  I didn’t realize how early I needed to start in San Diego (6 months to 1 year waitlists seemed common). After LOTS of online research, I found some buried gems of resources of 1) Relevant National Organizations with objective search information 2) Databases of Childcare Providers 3) Reports to review Licensing/Accreditation issues, and 4) Comprehensive questions to ask before or on tours. The links I keep coming back to evaluating each school are below – including General Links as well as California/San Diego specific links.  

  • 1) This National Organization had a great tips for the Child Care Search process here:
  • 2) Finding Child Care Providers.  I personally found searching Google Maps for “Child care” or “Preschool” to be fairly comprehensive, and recommend starting there for some quick calls to judge waitlist times and the options you have locally within a reasonable driving range.  Calls were faster in general than electronic forms, and helped arrange a few tours at programs that seemed acceptable to get a feel for what local places are like.    
    • Local Referral Services:  This national organization delegates unbiased centers for each zip code here:
    • San Diego YMCA:  “Our database of care providers includes all licensed child care centers and family child care homes, nanny agencies, license-exempt school based programs and summer camp programs.”  (Requires a short registration process.  Unfortunately I didn’t find much more information than what I would do via google search and my own licensing search.  It might be especially valuable, however, if you qualify for reduced fee childcare or are trying to find if any places had higher level National Accreditation as an extra quality measure.)
  • 3) Review Accreditation/Licensing etc to Remove any with Concerning Findings:
  • 4) Ask Detailed Questions and do a Tour:  GREAT COMPREHENSIVE QUESTIONS CHECKLISTS for Child Care (provided by the Government Agency, and grouped by age of care infant->school age):  Printable to take with on a Tour, or to make notes on during a phone conversation. If you feel the multiple pages is too large for a tour, make a folded half page set of notes yourself to make sure to ask (but most places shouldn’t flinch at you being thorough!)

Gosh, there can be a lot to figure out.  Going to a range of places on a tour helped me learn more what I wanted (although having space when you need it might be even more relevant.  Those are the major links I kept coming back to, but this could easily be several more articles. Hopefully this is a good jump start of your search!

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