Preschools aren’t all created equally. While every preschool will have a flair of its own, every great preschool has a few defining features that will separate it from the pack.
When looking for a preschool for your child, keep your eyes peeled for these 10 landmarks of a great preschool:
Voluntary accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) shows that a preschool has gone above and beyond to make their program meet the highest standards in early childhood education. NAEYC preschools have to meet strict guidelines and are evaluated regularly to be sure the program is up to current standards.
2. A low student to teacher ratio
A high quality preschool program will have a teacher to student ratio of about 1 to 4 for two year olds and 1 to 6 for 2.5 to 3 year olds.
3. A low staff turnover rate
A great preschool has a staff that is invested in the children and in the program. Consistent, skilled teachers provide the best opportunity for children to excel. Teachers should have at minimum, a 4 year college degree and specialized training in early childhood education.
4. A clean and safe space
The indoor and outdoor space of the preschool should be clean and safe. Play structures should be intact and free from broken pieces or sharp edges. Furniture should be age appropriate and toys should be sanitized regularly.
5. Age appropriate centers
A great preschool will have different areas for children to explore. These may include a reading center, a pretend play center, an arts and crafts center and a center designated for using manipulatives.
6. A policy and procedure manual
Having a clear set of policies and procedures helps assure that everyone is on the same page. The manual should outline fees, sick and inclement weather policies; make up policies, procedures for notifying parents in case of an emergency, and the expectations of staff, parents and students.
7. An open door policy
A great preschool will never forbid parents from checking in. A great preschool will allow and encourage parent involvement and drop-ins.
8. A kid friendly set-up
A great preschool will have age appropriate furnishings, posters and pictures hung at a child’s eye level, bins and storage systems that encourage children to play and put away, and children’s art work and teacher bulletin boards decorating the space.
9. A curriculum that meets students where they are
A great preschool will desire for all children to succeed. In doing so, teachers will be encouraged to alter their approach and teach to the individual when necessary to ensure that all students experience success. A great program will have a daily schedule that they follow and have it posted for children and parents to see.
10. A clear mission statement
A mission statement is the governing motto of the preschool. A clear mission statement ensures that everyone understands the goals of the program and how to effectively implement them.
While choosing the right preschool for your child is never an easy task, choosing a great preschool just got a little easier. When you see these 10 landmarks of a great preschool during your preschool search, you can be confident that you’ve found a program that’s worth considering for your child.