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What is a Quality Preschool?

What Makes A Quality Preschool Program?

Girl Playing with a Tractor

And . . . How do I Choose the Right Onefor my Child?

The first, and best rule of thumb, is trust your intuitions and your instincts. However, here are some basic components to look for when you visit a preschool.

  • Children
  • Teachers
  • Philosophy
  • Safety and Licensing
  • Environment (inside and outside)
  • Curriculum and Activities
  • Schedule
  • Discipline
  • Parent Participation

Talk with and Observe the children.

Are they happy, eager and engaged; not bored, tense or unhappy?

Are they working on individual or collaborative projects – not all doing the same project in the same way?

Talk with and observe the teachers.

Are teachers talking to and questioning the children, encouraging them to expand their thinking and problem solving skills?

Are the teachers providing positive interaction with the children?

Are the teachers displaying fairness, sensitivity, patience and kindness toward the children?

Are the teachers trained in early childhood education?

Are the teachers trained in pediatric CPR and first aid?

Is the student to teacher ratio below minimum required standards in order for teachers to provide more time with the students?

Is the teacher turnover low?

Ask about philosophy.

Does the classroom environment reflect the philosophy of the preschool?

Is the philosophy of the preschool in line with what you believe to be true about children in general and what is best for your child?

Are the philosophical beliefs written and available?

Is safetya priority and is the preschool licensed?

Licensing insures extensive safety procedures are being followed as well as maintaining quality preschool standards.

Does the preschool have installed safety features such as secure entrances and noise devices installed on doors?

Are restrooms clean and orderly?

Are the learning materials in good shape?

Is the outdoor equipment anchored, in good condition and well maintained?

Is the outdoor area clean and free of debris?

Look at the environment.

Are the rooms bright, visually stimulating and inviting to children?

Are there numerous opportunities for hands on learning and multi-sensory experiences in the classroom?

Are the rooms clean, neat and organized?

Does each child have a space for their own belongings?

Are the rooms big enough for children to play and work comfortably?

Are the materials available to the children and are they developmentally appropriate?

Is the atmosphere warm and joyful?

Is the classroom too loud or too quiet?

Talk with the preschool about their curriculum?

Is the curriculum set for the year or do they plan curriculum which is based on the interests of the children?

How are concepts integrated into the daily curriculum?

Are children encouraged to create their own ideas for art projects, building constructions and dance and music improvisations or are the creative activities directed by the teacher?

Are children given real world experiences such as cooking, visitors, pets, objects to explore, field trips, etc?

Are children writing or dictating their own stories versus working on worksheets?

Inquire about the schedule.

Is there plenty of time for children to explore their individual interests through play?

Is story time included in the preschool schedule?

Are activities planned for small and large group activities?

Is there time allowed in the schedule for gross motor play indoors and/or outdoors?

Ask about discipline.

Discipline is a form of the word disciple, which means to teach. How is learning incorporated into the preschool’s approach to discipline?

Ask about parents’role in the program?

Does the preschool practice an open door policy or are parents only allowed in the classroom during certain hours or days?

Does the school plan events for the families during and outside of preschool hours?

Are there classroom newsletters to keep parents informed of activities, events and learning?