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How to Pick a Preschool

Here are five things to watch for as you visit and assess a preschool program — hallmarks of success that you want to see.

  • Adults are talking to children in nurturing and encouraging ways. They get down on their eye-level, address them by name, listen carefully, and seek to understand.
     

  • When children are behaving inappropriately, teachers are focused on helping them, rather than punishing them. All preschoolers are developing social and emotional skills and self-regulation, like how to share toys and express frustration in words.

 

  • The classroom is fun and joyful. Play is the vehicle through which young children learn everything from vocabulary to math to self-control. 

  • Children are active. They are not expected to sit for more than 15-20 minutes at a time, and they get plenty of outdoor time. They are also active contributors to the classroom; they get to choose their activities and their work covers the walls.
     

  • Staff are supported — and seem happy. Working with young children is a tough job, and teachers are more successful when they receive regular professional development and planning time.

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