Signs of a Great Preschool
child is between the ages of 3 and 6, you may place him or her in a
child care center, preschool, or kindergarten program. The
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
(the organization that rates child care centers and pre-schools) suggests
you look for these 10 signs when choosing a school:
Children spend most of their playing and working with materials or other
children. They do not wander aimlessly, and they are not expected to
sit quietly for long periods of time.
Children have access to various activities throughout the day. Look
for assorted building blocks and other construction materials, props
for pretend play, picture books, paints and other art materials, and
table toys such as matching games, pegboards, and puzzles. Children
should not all be doing the same thing at the same time.
Teachers work with individual children, small groups, and the whole
group at different times during the day. They do not spend all their
time with the whole group.
The classroom is decorated with children's original artwork, their own
writing with invented spelling, and stories dictated by children to
Children learn numbers and the alphabet in the context of their everyday
experiences. The natural world of plants and animals and meaningful
activities like cooking, taking attendance, or serving snacks provide
the basis for learning activities.
Children work on projects and have long periods of time (at least one
hour) to play and explore. Worksheets are used little if at all.
Children have an opportunity to play outside every day. Outdoor play
is never sacrificed for more instructional time.
Teachers read books to children individually or in small groups throughout
the day, not just at group story time.
Curriculum is adapted for those who are ahead as well as those who need
additional help. Teachers recognize that children's different background
and experiences mean that they do not learn the same things at the same
time in the same way.
Children and their parents look forward to school. Parents feel secure
about sending their child to the program. Children are happy to attend;
they do not cry regularly or complain of feeling sick. Also ask if the
program is accredited by NAEYC. NAEYC accredited programs complete a
rigorous selfstudy and external review to prove that they meet standards
of excellence in early childhood education.
information? Send a self-addressed, stamped, business-size envelope
to NAEYC Box 522, 1509 16th Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20036. You'll
receive a complimentary brochure entitled "Good Teaching Practices for
Older Preschoolers and Kindergartners." You can also order NAEYC publications
online through Amazon.com. For more info, click
has a downloadable list of publications for your young child in pdf