Bhutan- I agree with you there. I had my kid in a daycare and was always sick and when I pulled him out he did not have that problem anymore. I wanted to say that there are some licensed daycares that have a more academic bent and try to prepare children for school.
These could be excellent choices because many of these daycares will actually teach phonics and help you children learn to read. They also teach beginning math skills like learning the calendar and how to tell time.
I think that one of the best determinants that will tell you how good the daycare is involves the amount of books and reading that is done with the children.
If the teachers spend time reading to the children than this will benefit the children because they will learn to read faster and it will also help them with their language development skills.
They also be forced to think about the story and learn to listen as well. Some daycares will do thematic studies regarding a particular book or phonetic sound. I think that daycares that do this are really worthwhile because schools are getting more challenging than they used to be.