Skip To Main Content

How to Choose a Quality Program

Choosing a quality early learning and care environment is important to your child’s future. To help you choose the best program for your family, below are the different types of programs available, the quality characteristics you should look for, and questions to ask. Visit our Program Finder to find programs in your area.

Early Learning and Care Environments

You have a choice in the type of program you enroll your child in. Take time to research the different options available to find the one that best suits you and your child. Check out this useful Choosing Quality Child Care Guide, available in English or Spanish to get you started.

  • Licensed Center-Based Programs
    • For-profit, a faith-based, or non-profit centers
    • School district-based subsidized centers
    • College-based centers
    • Head Start
  • Licensed Family Child Care Homes
  • Licensed Exempt
    • Family Friend and Neighbor Programs
    • Military Child and Youth Programs
    • Boys & Girls Clubs

What to Look For

Once you have narrowed down a few options, we recommend contacting the program and inquiring about their tour policy. Here is what to look for when visiting and what SDQPI uses for quality improvement efforts. (These are the National Association for the Education of Young Children Program Standards)

Questions to Ask

Other Resources to Help Families Find a Quality Program

To find a preschool, infant/toddler center, or family early learning and care programs participating in the San Diego Quality Preschool Initiative, search here.  View our helpful Choosing Quality Child Care Guide.

Community Resources

Graphic image of a bulleted list point

 County of San Diego Child Care Services Early Care and Education

The information on this page applies to families with children ages birth to 5 years of age and Early Care and Education Providers (i.e., Center-Based and Family Child Care Homes).

Graphic image of a bulleted list point

 YMCA Childcare Resource Service with Partners in Prevention

Families can also call the YMCA Childcare Resource Service to determine which programs might meet their needs and can look for quality elements when visiting early learning settings to find the right match. Please call 619-521-3070 or 1-800-481-2151 to speak with an early learning or care consultant or visit the Resource and Referral website.

Graphic image of a bulleted list point

 Quality Counts California Resources