Questions Preschool Directors Wish Parents Would Ask

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10 tips for choosing a quality preschool program

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has developed 10 standards for quality programs for children. This list, based on the NAEYC standards, can be a starting point as you evaluate local programs. For more information, please visit

Positive Relationships

  • Teachers make children feel welcome
  • Teachers help children learn to resolve conflicts in positive ways


  • The program addresses children’s social, emotional, physical, language and cognitive development and builds foundations for school success in reading, math, science and the arts

Effective Teaching

  • Teachers carefully supervise all children
  • Children’s work is displayed in the classroom
  • Teachers provide time for group and individual attention

Ongoing Assessment of Child Progress

  • Teachers and families create learning goals for children
  • Parents are provided with information about program activities
  • Teachers meet regularly with parents to discuss their child’s progress

Health, Nutrition and Safety

  • Children have regular opportunities to run and play
  • Nutritious food is prepared, served and stored safely

Qualified Teaching Staff

  • Teachers have necessary qualifications
  • Teachers complete an orientation program before working with children
  • The program provides continuing education opportunities for teachers

Family Engagement

  • Families are welcome to visit the program
  • Program staff and families plan events together

Community Relationships

  • The program visits playgrounds, museums, libraries and other community resources
  • The program invites local musicians, artists and others to interact
  • The program helps families connect with support services

Safe and Healthy Physical Environment

  • Toys and materials are clean and in good repair
  • First-aid kits, fire extinguishers, fire alarms and other safety equipment are available and installed
  • Outdoor play areas have fences or natural boundaries to them

Leadership and Management

  • The director has necessary qualifications, such as a 4-year college degree with expertise in child development
  • The program is licensed by the applicable state agency
  • Written policies for health, safety and discipline are in place

By Elizabeth A. Berg

Elizabeth A. Berg is the mother of two energetic preschool-age children.

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