Comparison of Requirements for Child Care Centers
with Minimum and Higher Voluntary Program Standards


Minimum Requirements

Higher Voluntary Program Standards

Staff-Child Ratios

Age of Child # of Staff: to # Children Ratio Group Size
0 - 1yr. 1:5 10
1 - 2yr. 1:6 12
2 - 3yr. 1:10 20
3 - 4yr. 1:15 25
4 - 5yr. 1:20 25
school-age 1:25 25

Age of Child # of Staff: to # Children Ratio Group Size
0 - 1yr. 1:5 10
1 - 2yr. 1:6 12
2 - 3yr. 1:9 18
3 - 4yr. 1:10 20
4 - 5yr. 1:13 25
5 - 6yr. 1:15 25
6yr. + 1:20 25
Square Footage
  • 25 sq. ft. per child indoors
  • 75 sq. ft. per child outdoors*
*If the facility is licensed for more than 30 children, they must have 75 sq. ft. for half the children in the capacity, but never less than enough space for 30 children
  • 30 sq. ft. per child indoors
  • 100 sq. ft. per child outdoors**
  • There must be an area which can be arranged for administrative and private conference.
**The facility may choose to have 35 sq. ft. of indoor space if they have 100 sq. ft. outdoor space for at least half the licensed capacity.

Activities/ Curriculum

  • Four activity areas available daily, fifth area rotated in monthly.
  • Music/rhythm, sand/water and science/ nature activities once per month.
  • Five activity areas available daily.
  • Music/rhythm, sand/water and science/ nature activities once per week.
Staff Qualifications
  • Teacher's Aide - 16 years old and literate.
  • Teacher and Lead Teachers (if hired after July 1, 1998) - 18 years old and a high school diploma or GED, plus one of the following:
    1. One year experience in child care.
    2. Twenty additional hours of training in child development in the first six months of employment.
    3. Completion of DPI Child Care Services Program.
  • In addition, the Lead Teacher shall have the North Carolina Early Childhood Credential or its equivalent. Law allows the lead teacher to enroll in coursework within six months of hire and complete within 18 months.
  • Administrator - 21 years old and high school or general education diploma, and
    • Two years experience in child care, or undergraduate, graduate or associate degree with at least 12 hours in child development, early childhood, etc.; or a CDA credential; or completion of community or technical college early childhood curriculum; or one year of experience and the NC Early Childhood Credential; and
    • One year administrative experience; or completion of or enrollment in child care program administration course.
  • In addition, administrators shall complete the NC Early Childhood Administrative Credential or its equivalent. Law allows enrollment within six months of hire, and completing within two years.

Same as Minimum Requirements

Operational Polices

Not Addressed

  • Written description of operational policies are discussed and given to parents at enrollment.
  • Center must have a plan encouraging parent participation including parents meeting with staff on a regular basis, activities for parents to particpate in, procedure for parents to receive information or voice complaints.

Personnel Policies

Not Addressed

  • If more than two staff, the center must have written personnel policies addressing job descriptions, qualifications, training, health and medical requirements, leave time, evaluation supervision, and resignation procedures.

Night Care

Safe and comfortable bed, crib or cot, equipped with a firm waterproof mattress at least four inches thick must be provided for each child who stays in the center after midnight.

  • A variety of activities and experiences must be available during the evening hours with quiet activities just before bedtime.
  • Children have opportunities to develop good personal care and health habits through routines.
  • Schedules for the children must be flexible and individually planned.
  • When possible, children shall be left and picked up before and after normal sleeping periods so there is minimal sleep disturbance.