Early childhood

How to Use this List

  1. Go through each item on the list.
  2. Check off the things you already do.
  3. Don’t worry if you can’t check off everything!
  4. Use the items you DO NOT check off to create an action plan for improvement.

Furniture and Space

Relaxation and Comfort

  • ___ Furniture is upholstered and soft.
  • ___ Soft cushions are available.
  • ___ Floors in play areas are covered with soft rugs.
  • ___ A child-sized rocker or other child-sized furniture is available.
  • ___ Special soft cozy areas are regularly available for reading and relaxation.
  • ___ Cozy area provides a reading corner with cushions.
  • ___ Cozy area provides a doll house and many soft toys.

Room Arrangement

  • ___ Materials with a similar use are placed together.
  • ___ Individual stations are set up for specific activities, such as painting, reading, etc.
  • ___ Traffic patterns don’t interfere with activities.
  • ___ Required resources such as water or shelving are available in the stations.
  • ___ Quiet and noisy stations are separated.
  • ___ Appropriate play space is provided in each station.
  • ___ Stations are easy to supervise visually.
  • ___ Stations provide a variety of learning experiences.
  • ___ Materials in stations are labeled and organized so that children can use them on their own.
  • ___ Additional supplies are available to add to or change the stations.


  • ___ Caregivers are focused on children.
  • ___ Attention is paid to safety, cleanliness, and proper use of materials.
  • ___ Caregivers interact with children and enhance play with teaching.
  • ___ Children are encouraged to explore independently.
  • ___ Supervision balances the children’s need for independence with adult-guided learning activities.


  • ___ Toilets are accessible.
  • ___ Hot water is available.
  • ___ Facilities are clean.
  • ___ Adults wash their hands after changing children’s diapers.
  • ___ Water is available in the diapering area.
  • ___ Toilets are child-sized (potty chairs for toddlers also work).
  • ___ Sinks are low enough for children to easily use.
  • ___ Caregivers use diapering as a time to warmly interact with children.


  • ___ Naps are scheduled daily.
  • ___ Naps are supervised.
  • ___ Napping area is quiet, private, and well-ventilated.
  • ___ Cuddly toys are available to help children relax.
  • ___ Soft, soothing music plays in the background during naps
  • ___ Caregivers provide backrubs to children.
  • ___ Early risers and non-nappers are given separate activities.

Personal Grooming

  • ___ Hands are washed before meals and after using the toilet.
  • ___ Teeth are brushed after meals.
  • ___ Hair combing is regularly scheduled.
  • ___ Grooming is part of an educational program encouraging good habits.
  • ___ Children are encouraged to groom independently with supervision.

Interactions between Adults and Children

  • ___ Caregivers respond quickly when problems happen.
  • ___ Caregivers regularly talk to and interact with children.
  • ___ The atmosphere is calm but busy.
  • ___ Children seem happy most of the time.
  • ___ Staff and children seem relaxed.
  • ___ Voices are cheerful and children smile often.
  • ___ Caregivers show warmth, such as gentle holding and hugging, in physical contact.
  • ___ Children and adults respect one another.
  • ___ Caregivers help children before problems occur.
  • ___ Caregivers help children settle conflicts.
  • ___ Caregivers have a lesson plan for developing social skills.

Planning Activities

  • ___ There is enough time for meals, naps, grooming, and changing diapers.
  • ___ Several activity periods, some indoors and some outdoors, are planned each day.
  • ___ The schedule is flexible enough to allow for children to choose some activities on their own.
  • ___ Materials for the next activity are ready before the current activity ends.
  • ___ There are alternative activities for children who aren’t able to take part in the main activity.