Some of the things I found out before I booked my daughter in were:
- cost for full day
- cost for 1/2 day (if offered, some centres dont 'do' half days
- cost if public holiday
- what does the centre provide and what do you have to provide...some centres supply everything, others you have to supply nappies, snacks etc
- visit the centre, and all the rooms, find out what ages the rooms are. eg. 0-2 nursery, 2-3 1/2 toddler, 3 1/2 - 5 kindy.
- look at the interaction between the staff and the kids..do the staff seem happy and look like they are enjoying their job..do the children seem happy
- look at the facilities, is the centre well looked after, clean, tidy, toys and play equipment safe and up-to-date etc
- speak to the Director of the centre, ask about things like if the centre is a sun smart centre, ask to see policies from the centre, there should be a range of them
- ask what parent interaction there is..eg. if a community based centre, they will have a management committee that you can (if you choose to) join, and have an input on a range of things
- ask to see a standard menu for the week for what kinds of food and snacks (if provided by the centre) are given to the children.
- ask if you can do visits with your child to the centre..eg take your child to the centre and stay in the age appropriate room with them for an hour or so..repeat in a few days time, and again if needed..then leave your child at the centre on their own for say an hour or two, a couple of times to get them used to the staff, the other kids, the routines etc before they are actually booked in...they should do this at no cost to you
- ask if they have a waiting list, and for how long?
These are just a few that I have thought of off the top of my head, I'm sure others will be able to add to it.