Provider Checklist

CPR & First Aid

Family child care providers must obtain approved trainings in basic first aid that includes rescue breathing and choke saving within 6 months of registration and upon renewal of registration.

All family child care providers shall keep the following first aid supplies available in a portable container and ensure they are out of children’s reach: thermometer, disposable gloves, blunt tipped scissors, tweezers, bandage tape, sterile gauze, non-medicated adhesive strips, sealed packages of alcohol wipes or antiseptic, soap and a first aid guide.

Below is a list of locations in Wood, Wirt, Pleasants, Ritchie, Doddridge, Harrison, Calhoun and Gilmer counties where CPR and first aid classes are available.

Organization Phone Web
Fairmont State University 304-333-3777
American Red Cross-Clarksburg Chapter 304-624-7689
American Red Cross Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter 304-485-7311
Mid Ohio Valley Health Department 304-485-7374
North View Fire Station 304-624-1646
United Hospital Center (Education Dept) 681-642-1860


Consulting with pediatricians and/or nurses can be very helpful as you formulate your program's health policies, which should start by having a physical health form and immunization form, signed by a pediatrician or family practitioner on file for each child.

Your program's health policy should address:

  • Communicable Diseases
    Parents should inform the center right away if their child contracts any serious communicable disease. The program director should notify all of the families in the program in writing, alerting them to symptoms and precautions. Your health policy should state how long a child with a communicable disease must stay out of child care, and should list restrictions on when a child can return to care (e.g., after three days on an antibiotic, or after the child's physician signs a note stating that the child is no longer contagious).
  • Daily Health and Illness
    Each child's file should contain the name and telephone numbers of the person(s) to contact should the child become ill. Policy should dictate when children need to be sent home due to a fever, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. Any ill child should be removed from the group and be given a quiet place to rest until she goes home. Program health policies should state when children need to be kept out of care and when they can return. Consult a health care consultant or pediatrician for guidance in formulating a medication dispensation policy.
  • Staff Health
    Each staff member must have an annual physical exam and comply with the program's health policies regarding illness and communicable diseases. Staff must have required immunizations and vaccinations as well.
  • Hand Washing
    Proper hand washing practices are very important for prevention of disease in child care programs. Staff will need to wash their hands frequently with soap and running water. Children should be supervised to ensure they wash hands after toileting or nose wiping, and before eating or handling food. Children and staff should use liquid soap from a dispenser, and use paper towels (not cloth) to avoid passing germs.

    You Should Always Wash Your Hands:
    • After wiping a child's nose, eyes, or mouth
    • After contact with any bodily fluids, such as blood or saliva (your own or others')
    • After changing a child's diaper or soiled clothing, or assisting a child with toileting, or applying any salves or ointments to a child's skin
    • After blowing your own nose or using the toilet
    • Before handling food, preparing or serving a meal or snack, or administering medications
    • After handling animals or birds
    • After playing or working outdoors
    • After handling any toxins, such as household cleansers

Helpful Links:

More Important Health Information:

Shaken Baby Syndrome
Abuse & Neglect


Providing nutritious food and promoting good eating habits are important parts of any child care program. Meal times offer children the opportunity to socialize, try new food, and build on many learning skills. Incorporating ideas and themes from your curriculum into meal times is a great way to involve children, and makes for a fun time all around. Here are some things to think about when serving meals and snacks:

  • Always have children wash hands before and after snacks and meals.
  • Observe safe food preparation and handling practices.
  • Include items from the four major food groups: vegetables and fruits, cereals and breads, milk products and milk equivalents, and meat and meat substitutes.
  • Allow enough time for snacks and meals so that children don't feel rushed.
  • Serve snacks and meals at regularly scheduled times.
  • Serve a variety of textures, colors, and temperatures of food.
  • Have the children take part in food preparation, which builds skills in many areas such as math, science, language, and social studies.
  • Let children take part in serving the food (e.g., passing around a basket of crackers, or carrying a tray of fruit to a table).
  • Serve food from diverse cultures, especially those of children in the program.
  • Serve small portions, particularly if it’s a new or unfamiliar food.
  • For infants, talk to parents about daily feeding schedules, formula or breast milk preparation, and when and how to introduce solid food.
  • Talk to parents about any allergies or special diets their children may have. It’s helpful to keep a list posted in the eating area for staff reference. Some allergic reactions can be very severe, so attentiveness is important.
  • To prevent choking, do not serve popcorn, nuts, raisins, grapes, raw carrots, or hot dogs (unless cut up into half-inch pieces) to children under the age of five.
  • Do not use an excess of sugar or salt when preparing any food.
  • Post your snack and meal menus on your program’s main bulletin board and website.


Creating and maintaining a safe environment is a major concern for all programs, and starts with making sure you are prepared for emergencies. Program policies should include emergency policies to be implemented in the event of accident, fire, flood, evacuation, or other unforeseen emergencies. Each child's file must include phone numbers of the person(s) to contact in an emergency, and a release form authorizing the program to seek emergency treatment for the child if the parent or other emergency contact is unavailable.

  • All center staff should be fully trained in first aid and CPR, and should know how to respond immediately in the event of an emergency.
  • Emergency numbers should be posted in each classroom and by each telephone, along with directions for staff response in various emergency situations.

More Specific Safety Information:

Nursery Safety
Outdoor Safety
Vehicle Safety
Weapon & Tool Safety
United States Consumer Product Safety Website

Special Needs

Working with children with special needs brings up a host of feelings, attitudes, and fears, all of which are normal. It is helpful to talk about these things, and to prepare yourself and your staff before a child with special needs enters your program.

Key points to remember when working with children with special needs:

  • Children with special needs are children first! Your experience working with children is the most valuable tool you bring to the situation.
  • You do not have to be an expert or have a degree in special education to care for a child with special needs. You must be willing to learn about the specific needs of the child in your care and what adaptations are necessary to optimize the child's participation in your program.
  • The best source of information is the child's parents. Frequent communication with them is extremely valuable. Ask about their child's specific needs, information they have gained through assessments or doctor visits, helpful books or research articles, and strategies and routines they use in the home.
  • Take advantage of the many organizations and sources of information related to specific special needs, education, and inclusion.

Strategies for Including Children with Special Needs

The key to successful inclusion is to create an atmosphere of acceptance. Children with special needs have the right to be cared for and educated with their peers. In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) all child care programs must accept applications from all families, regardless of a child's needs. Programs must attempt to include any child unless it would be a hardship financially, or would require them to significantly change their program.

Here are some suggestions to make this experience successful for all involved.

  • Designate a staff contact person for the family to ensure frequent communication between home and the care setting.
  • Encourage staff to attend workshops and take advantage of training opportunities.
  • Collaborate with the child's therapy providers.
  • Provide home visits to promote continuity between the school and home settings.
  • Hire someone to consult with your program about the child's needs, or contact a Behavior Consultant for assistance.
  • Hire an extra staff person as a personal aide to the child.

Curriculum Related to Special Needs

Include curriculum that relates to the needs of all the children in your group. When choosing books, photographs, dolls, or other materials, make an effort to represent people of different ability levels. For example, have a dollhouse in the dramatic play area that has a wheelchair ramp, or include a visual representation of the American Sign Language alphabet on a wall in the classroom. Many curriculum aids, such as adapted paintbrushes, scissors, or utensils, can be used by all of the children. Having visual symbols around the classroom and a visual representation of the daily schedule addresses many learning styles, and benefits all of the children. Curriculum that includes such lessons as "Similarities and Differences", "Likes and Dislikes", or "All About Me", can be rich in providing discussion around special needs. For example, make a chart about "What we are working on" and ask each child to contribute ideas. One child may be working on learning to tie her shoe and another child may be working on turning his wheelchair. Exploring the individuality and differences of the children in your care helps to create an atmosphere of acceptance. Materials, toys and resources on inclusion are available on the TRAILS Van.

Talking to Parents About Special Needs

Find out what information parents of children with special needs want to share with other parents in the program, and how they would like to share it. Parents may have questions about how they can talk to their own children about their classmates with special needs, or have misconceptions that need to be clarified.

You may encounter a range of responses from parents of children with special needs, often related to where they are in the process of learning and accepting that their child has special needs. Some parents may want to speak to other families on their own, and can do so informally at pick-up and drop-off times, or they can set up a more formal time to meet with other parents. Some parents may want to visit their child's classroom to talk with the children about their child's special needs, and help answer other children's questions. Other parents may not feel comfortable with staff sharing any information about their child with other parents. Parents' wishes need to be respected when it comes to this issue. Initially, sharing information may be difficult, but as relationships develop among the caregivers, children, and families, it may become easier.

Just as staff members have fears and concerns about working with children with special needs, some parents may be worried that their children will be adversely affected by having a child with special needs as a classmate. It is important to provide them with accurate information that will ease their fears. Reassure them that you are committed to providing quality care for all of the children, and address their specific concerns to the best of your ability.

If You Have Concerns - Early Intervention Programs

Parent Communication


The first contact you have with prospective parents usually happens over the phone. Most of the time the parents are calling you to get more information about your program and to inquire about openings available. As you talk to them, you’ll want to gather basic information about their child, so you may find it helpful to have a checklist of standard questions. You may want to ask parents:

  • How they heard about your program
  • The ages of their children
  • When they need care to begin
  • What kind of schedule they need (full or part-time, daily hours, etc.)
  • Have they used child care before?
  • What qualities they are looking for in a program?
  • Is their child toilet trained?

Information you may want to share with parents includes:

  • How long your program has been in business
  • The type of program you offer
  • Your hours of operation
  • If your program is accredited
  • Information about your background

If you have openings available and would like to meet with the family, invite the parents in to visit the program, with or without their child. Schedule a time when you can show them around and conduct a detailed interview.

Initial Visits With Families

For the initial interview, you’ll want to have all of the information about your program on hand, including your parent handbook, enrollment forms, brochures, etc. Plan for at least an hour of uninterrupted time to discuss:

  • Philosophy of your program
  • Group sizes, ages, and adult-to-child ratios
  • Program structure and curriculum
  • Education and training of provider and staff
  • Daily activities, materials, and equipment
  • Health and safety policies
  • Parental involvement
  • Contracts, payments, due dates, and late fees
  • Subsidy and financial aid information
  • Forms to be completed by parents
  • Meals and snacks provided

The second half of the interview is when you can show the parents around the program, taking them on a tour of each classroom or area, the outside play yard, toileting facilities, etc. If the child is present, have the child visit the class that she would be attending, introduce her to the teachers and other children, and have her try out an activity or two. Make sure that you conduct a thorough tour of the facility and answer any questions the parents may have along the way.

At the end of the visit, communicate the next steps to prospective families. Be clear about forms that need to be completed, deposits that are due (and whether the deposit is refundable), and any waiting list information you may have.


Once you have heard back from a family, and have accepted them into your program, you’ll want to begin the enrollment process. Be sure to go over all of the policies with them, and discuss issues, such as withdrawal from the program, illness, vacation, late payment and pick-up fees, etc. Specify items that must be brought from home, items that should not be brought in, and any other important policies.

Have the parents sign all of the appropriate enrollment forms, and give them any forms they need to have signed by their pediatrician or others. Give them a copy of the parent handbook and contract, and collect a deposit check from them at this time.

Your Parent Handbook

Your parent handbook is one of the most important communication tools that you’ll provide for parents. Whether you are putting a handbook together for the first time, or are refreshing the one you have, think about compiling the information in a clear, easy-to-read format. Your parent handbook may include:

  • Introduction and philosophy of the program
  • License ID number
  • Staff biographies
  • The daily schedule
  • Drop-off and pick-up policies
  • Individual child records
  • Health and safety policies
  • Parent involvement
  • Discipline policy
  • Toileting policy
  • Food program policy
  • Toys from home
  • Birthday and holiday celebrations
  • Inclement weather policy
  • Special programs offered
  • Yearly calendar of events
  • Termination policy

Transitions Into Child Care

When a child begins care in a new program, it can sometimes be difficult for the child and the parents to adjust. Most children will experience some level of separation anxiety -- especially if it is their first time in child care. Here are some things you can do to make the transition smoother for everyone.

  • Provide a transitional schedule, where you have the child ease into the program by attending on a staggered schedule at the beginning -- even if for only a day or so.
  • Have the child bring in family photos from home to share with teachers and other children.
  • Help parents to make good-byes short and sweet; encourage them not to drag good-byes out, which can make the separation harder for both parent and child.
  • Help parents to establish a good-bye ritual if it helps with the transition (for example, saying good-bye at the same door or window each morning).
  • Have the child bring in a “transitional object”: a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, or toy.
  • Make it clear that parents can call at anytime during the day to check in and see how their child is doing.
  • Encourage parents to pick up at the same time every day during the transitional period, so that the child can learn what to expect and have a secure routine to rely on.
  • Make sure to check in with parents at the end of the day, and let them know how their child’s day went.
  • Provide a lot of empathy and reassurance to children and parents; explain that these feelings are normal and that their child will adjust very soon.
  • Adapt the program during the beginning of the year to welcome children in a low-key way, and plan activities that are inviting, rather than over-stimulating.

Daily Communication

Daily conversations with parents enable you to build trust with families, and also allow for an exchange of information about a child. These daily check-ins may include how the child’s day went, how the child slept that night, whether a parent is traveling on business that week, or whether or not the child took a nap that day.

Serious problems should not be discussed during daily check-ins, but rather should take place in a private meeting. A parent-provider conference can be set up if there are significant problems or issues to discuss.

There are many ways to communicate daily with parents, other than the quick check-ins that take place in the morning and afternoon. Some ideas on creating open parent-provider communication include:

  • Bulletin boards listing daily activities for each age group
  • Lunchtime visits
  • Open-door visitation policy for parents
  • Daily journals or logs for parents on each child
  • A weekly or monthly newsletter for each age group
  • Notes or phone calls between parents and providers, as needed
  • Emails to parents at home and/or work
  • A website for your program
  • Volunteer opportunities for parents posted weekly or monthly

Discussing Difficult Issues

Sometimes, difficult issues or situations arise at child care that are a challenge to bring up and discuss with parents. If you have established an open, trusting mode of communicating with parents in your program, it may be easier to discuss these difficult topics as they come up. Some typical issues include addressing behavioral problems, signs of abuse or neglect, signs that a child may have special needs, health problems, or even a parent’s lack of respect for program policies.

Depending on the type of problem, there may be other considerations, such as your legal obligations in cases of suspected abuse or neglect. Documenting and keeping records of problems that arise is always a good idea.

Consider the following when discussing difficult issues with parents:

  • Address issues when they first develop. Putting off a conversation usually makes it harder to bring up later. Don’t wait until parent conferences to discuss serious problems.
  • Set up a time to talk in a private place, where you won’t be overheard or interrupted.
  • Think about the things that you want to say and how you want to present things.
  • Be specific about what the issues are: give concrete examples of things you have observed or have documented.
  • Listen to the parent’s observations and explanations. Ask questions so that you can understand the situation and the parent’s point of view.
  • End the conversation on a positive, solution-finding note. Make a plan for the next steps to be taken.
  • Confidentiality is imperative; any issues you discuss with parents must be held in confidence.
  • Most conflicts can be resolved. If for some reason you have an ongoing problem with a parent, you may want to seek a mediator, or decide to terminate the family from the program if there is clear violation of program policies.

Parent - Provider Conferences

Parent-provider conferences are a time set aside for you to discuss a child’s progress and development, and for parents to ask questions of you about their child and the program. These conferences usually happen twice a year, but can occur more often for younger children. A written report should always accompany a conference meeting.

The conference meeting gives you, as a provider, the opportunity to share your observations about a child’s strengths, and to make suggestions for ways that the parents can enhance their child’s development at home. Other important areas to cover include showing examples of a child’s work, sharing the activities that their child seems to enjoy, and stressing ways that their child has made progress over the months.

During a conference, no issue should come as a surprise to a parent. Major problems should have been addressed with the parents when they were first observed.

If additional questions come up during the conference that cannot be addressed at that time, be sure to set up another meeting or make yourself available to speak over the phone.