Q:

How do I find the right preschool for my child? -- Searching

A:

The following guideline will help you in your preschool selection process:

  • -Accreditation High quality preschools throughout the country are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Some of these schools may be in your area.
  • -Curriculum Avoid schools that teach reading or math in a formal way and that concentrate on academics. Remember that parrots can be taught to count and monkeys to recognize letters. Find a program that will help your child develop socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually. Make sure your child will be able to choose from a variety of interesting hands-on activities that the teachers have set up in the play area. Do not enroll your child in a program where all activities are directed by the teacher.
  • -Child-adult ratio The NAEYC recommends that 2- and 3-year-olds be in groups of no more than 14 with at least two adults. For 4- and 5-year-olds, two adults can handle groups of 20 children.
  • -Physical layout look for a roomy, clean place with well-organized play materials that the children can easily reach. You should find areas for playing with blocks, housekeeping, doing artwork and just sitting and daydreaming. There should be lots of hands-on-materials, such as wood, sand, water and clay. The playground should have safe, sturdy equipment. The NAEYC recommends at least 35 square feet of usable playroom floor space indoors for each child and 75 square feet of play space outdoors per child.
  • -Location Look for a place that is convenient and close to work or home.
  • -Teachers The most important factor in selecting a preschool is the quality of the teachers. You want to find teachers who are genuinely interested in children, listen carefully to what the children say, talk to them and make learning exciting.