Tips for Choosing a Preschool

Tips for Choosing a Preschool from Carolyn DeVito, Assistant Executive Director of the Montclair Community Pre-K and from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)


Research shows that the early childhood years are a time period of tremendous growth and development for all children.  It is important that you find a preschool which enhances the development of the whole child in the areas of cognitive, social, emotional, motor and language development. Preparation for future schooling is important; preparation for life in this ever-changing world is equally significant.  Children need to develop self-awareness and confidence to be who they are as a person and a learner.  Most importantly, the school needs to work together with the family to create a collaborative, community-centered environment.  The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has created a “tip sheet” of the 10 Signs of a Great Preschool.  Please feel free to use information as you find the best place your child and family.


10 Signs of a Great Preschool 


Are you looking for a child care center, preschool or kindergarten program for your preschool child? If so, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) suggests you look for these 10 signs that an early childhood classroom is a great one!


  1. Children spend most of their time playing and working with materials or other children.  They do not wander aimlessly and they are not expected to sit quietly for long periods of time. 
  2. Children have access to various activities throughout the day.  Look for assorted building blocks and other construction materials, props for pretend play, picture books, paints and other art materials and table toys such as matching games, pegboards and puzzles.  Children should not all be doing the same thing at the same time. 
  3. Teachers work with individual children, small groups and the whole group at different times during the day.  They do not spend all their time with the whole group.  
  4. The classroom is decorated with children’s original artwork, their own writing with invented spelling and stories dictated by children to teachers. 
  5. Children learn numbers and the alphabet in the context of their everyday experiences.  The natural world of plants and animals and meaningful activities like cooking, taking attendance or serving snack provide the basis for learning activities. 
  6. Children work on projects and have long periods of time (at least one hour) to play and explore.  Worksheets are used little if at all.
  7. Children have an opportunity to play outside every day.  Outdoor play is never sacrificed for more instructional time. 
  8. Teachers read books to children individually or in small groups throughout the day, not just at group story time. 
  9. Curriculum is adapted for those who are ahead as well as those who need additional help.  Teachers recognize that children’s different background and experiences mean that they do not learn the same things at the same time in the same way.
  10. Children and their parents look forward to school.  Parents feel secure about sending their child to the program.  Children are happy to attend; they do not cry regularly or complain of feeling sick.


Adapted from: 10 Signs of a Great Preschool. (1996). Early Years are Learning Years. National Association for the Education of Young Children.  


MCPK Open House/Tour Dates 

                                           Week of January 14 – 18, 2013 @ 10:00 a.m. 

                                            Thursday evening, January 17 @ 7:00 p.m. 

Registration Dates – Priority 4’s – Tuesday, January 22 @ 9:00 -12:00 p.m.

                Open 4’s – Wednesday – Friday, January 23, 24, 25 @ 9:00 -12:00 p.m. 

                       Priority 3’s – Monday, January 28th – 9:00 – 12:00 p.m. 

                     Open 3’s – Tuesday and Wednesday, January 29 and 30 – 9:00 – 12:00 p.m.


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