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How to Select Quality Child Care

Choosing child care is one of the most important decisions a family can make. To get the most out of your child care search, always remember to VISIT, ASK, LOOK, & LISTEN.

happy preK student finger-painting in an ECE center


  • Try to visit at least three programs to make a comparison.

  • Schedule your visit at a time when children are engaged, not during nap time, drop-off, or pick-up.

  • Spend time in the room where your child will attend.

  • If your schedule allows, try to spend at least an hour at the program.


  • Is the program licensed/regulated by SC DSS?
    Ask to see their license, approval, or registration.

  • Is the program enrolled in ABC Quality?
    ABC Quality is South Carolina’s voluntary quality rating improvement system.

  • What is the educational and early childhood work experience of the teachers, aides, director, etc.?

  • How does the program communicate with families and encourage involvement?

  • Request references or ask to speak with other parents about their experience with the program.


  • Does the program look safe, clean, and inviting?

  • Are the teachers talking and playing with the children?

  • Is there a variety of toys and learning materials?

  • Do the attending children seem happy and engaged?


  • Are teachers speaking to the children in a positive, nurturing manner?

  • Are the teachers’ voices relaxed and reassuring?

  • Are teachers having conversations with the children?

  • Is the program too quiet? Is it too loud?