There are many types of child care ranging from large child care centers to small family-like settings. It is important that you choose the option that works best for your family and meets your child’s needs.

Washington State licenses or certifies two types of child day care:

  • Child care centers (including most school-age programs),and
  • Family child care homes.

There are some types of care that do not require a license in the State of Washington:

  • Preschools
  • Care given by a family member
  • Nanny Care (care in the child’s home)
  • School-age programs run by a public school

Find Child Care

Use the Washington State Child Care Resource to find a child care provider in your area or read about what to look for in a child care provider. Learn more on the Child Care Aware of Washington website . Child Care Aware also has a hotline where you can get help searching for child care options based on schedule, child’s age, location, special needs, and more.

If you live in King County, you may also visit Child Care Resources.

Need help paying for childcare?

Washington State has a program called Working Connections Child Care that helps low-income families pay for childcare so parents can work, look for a job, or enroll in a job training program. There are also child care assistance programs in the cities of Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond and Kent. Learn more about these programs and Working Connections Child Care .

Options for preschool

There are lots of different kinds of preschools for you to choose from. Your choice will probably depend on cost, location, and the philosophy of the program. You may also be limited by enrollment numbers. It’s a good idea to start thinking about preschool early so that you are prepared when your child is old enough to begin.

Some common types of preschools include:

  • Cooperative preschools, which offer parents the chance to participate in the classroom experience and learn parenting strategies along the way. Learn more
  • Outdoor preschools are gaining popularity for their unique and effective approach to learning. These programs are great for promoting a healthy lifestyle. Children with a lot of energy tend to do well in outdoor preschool programs.
  • Faith-based preschools are run by religious organizations, but you don’t always have to be a member of the organization to attend the preschool.
  • Head Start is a high-quality preschool for families under a certain income threshold. Use the Head Start Locator tool to find a program near you.