We need a preschool revolution. There aren’t enough preschools to meet demand, and studies have found that only 8% to 10% of preschools are considered high in quality.
There are many excellent options – but how can parents “hack” the preschool search to find them?
Mia Pritts, a childhood education expert who was in the team of preschool pioneers that started the groundbreaking campus preschool system at Google, Stanford, and Pixar has curated the “Preschool Quality Indicator Checklist”, a list of ten quality indicators parents should look for during their search.
She’s the Head of Early Care and Education at Wonderschool a digital marketplace of boutique early child care programs that makes it easy for parents to find excellent quality schools.
The Preschool Quality Indicator Checklist includes:
#1 LICENSE CHECK
Only consider options that are licensed by the state regulatory agency for all center-based programs and family child care homes.
#2 THE BASICS
Ask about hours, educational philosophy and curriculum, teacher credentials, teacher turnover rates, and guidance strategies.
#3 VISITOR POLICY
View the school calendar, and learn about family activities, volunteer opportunities, and their visitor policy. They should have an open visitor policy for parents.
#4 DAILY SCHEDULE
The program should follow the individual schedule of each baby, so that they eat when they’re hungry, sleep when they’re tired, and are not trapped in a bouncy seat the entire day. For toddlers and preschoolers, a more structured day with a predictable schedule and routine is best.
#5 OUTDOOR TIME
How often do they take the children outside? Ideally it will be daily – even multiple times per day.
#6 QUALITY CHECK
Ask about any quality assessments or ratings completed by the program. This can easily help indicate a high-quality environment.
#7 TEACHER RATIOS
What are the teacher/student ratios? Compare to your state regulations. Lower ratios are another indicator of a high-quality program.
#8 NO YELLING
Are teachers engaged with the kids? Do they kneel down to their level versus talking down to them? Can you hear the sound of happy, busy children or do you hear yelling? Look for context behind any noise and activity.
#9 MOMMY GUT CHECK
Mia Pritts, Wonderschool’s Head of Early Care and Education, says, “As a mom who also works in the early childhood education industry, I recommend parents go with their gut. Check how you feel when you’ve stepped into the building.”
A preschool with a TV is a big no no – minus a few exceptions. This signals lack of engagement and activities for children.
Wonderschool is a solution that helps parents find great quality schools. It keeps ratios low, helps teachers with licensing and accreditation, helps parents easily monitor teacher’s credentials and quality assessments, and makes it simple for parents to visit and get answers to their most important questions.