Guidelines for Choosing a Preschool

img_7163A good preschool should encourage a child’s positive self–concept and provide a variety of experiences and choices that foster children’s physical, cognitive, linguistic, emotional and social development. Specifically, when visiting preschools, prospective families should look for the following:

  1. Children are allowed choice among variety of materials, equipment and activities to stimulate exploration of their own interests and creative abilities, and children are given much time to play and explore. Look for blocks and other building materials, puzzles, books, games, a quiet corner or space, varied art materials, varied pretend play props, small and large manipulatives, varied tactile materials, and age–appropriate materials and activities encouraging sorting, writing, reading, natural investigation, and appreciation of music.
  2. The school maintains a safe, clean and healthy environment with adequate indoor and outdoor spaces for the number of children in the program.
  3. The curriculum is varied and adapted for children of different backgrounds, learning styles, and stages of cognitive development. Children are not all expected to learn the same things at the same time and in the same way.
  4. Children play outside every day to stimulate development of gross motor, social and problem-solving skills. Both inside and outdoors, children are given many social opportunities throughout the school day.
  5. Teachers gently guide children in their emotional or social challenges to communicate their needs and feelings appropriately, learn to problem–solve their own social conflicts, and develop mutual respect and compassion for their peers.
  6. Teachers encourage positive behavior and a positive environment by guiding and redirecting children to make choices that do not harm others, creating predictable routines, and providing positive feedback to children.
  7. Teachers work positively and comfortably with parents by encouraging parent participation, welcoming families of diverse backgrounds, communicating openly with parents regarding their child, and supporting parents in guiding their children’s development.
  8. The school maintains appropriate staff–child ratios (at least 1 adult for every 8 two–year–old children, or at least 1 adult for every 10 three– and four–year–old children).
  9. The teaching staff has required educational qualifications and experience and is committed to ongoing training and professional development.
  10. Children and parents look forward to the child going to school and feel and convey a strong sense of community with the teachers and other families in the school.