How to Pick a Qualified Preschool: 8 Steps - MakeSureHow
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Quality preschools encourage kids to work together on projects during the day.

It's tempting to go with the flow and pick a preschool from a friend's recommendation, but that school might not be the best fit for your child. Picking a qualified school involves getting it right the first time so your child develops a love of school and learning. Taking time to investigate all the details about the school, teachers and curriculum means making calls, researching online and physically visiting each school. It's tough work, but your child's future is on the line. A quality preschool improves your child's chances at doing well in kindergarten and elementary school.


  1. 1
    Develop a list of schools from personal recommendations. Talk with friends, neighbors and family members with children attending local preschools to begin your list of potential schools.
  2. 2
    Research preschools to find the schools' education qualifications, licenses and accreditation. Add any new qualified schools to your list from your online research. Look for schools belonging to the American Montessori Society, Association Montessori International/USA, National All-Day Kindergarten Network, National Childcare Association, National Association for the Education of Young Children or the National Community Education Association (see Resources).
  3. 3
    Ask the schools for the qualifications for the instructors and teachers assigned to your child. Look for a child development associate license or state-issued teaching certificates specifically listing preschool on the credential. If the teachers don't have official certifications or teaching credentials, look for community college or university degrees in early childhood education.
  4. 4
    Visit with the preschools on your list and watch the children and instructors. Pay attention to how the instructors and students interact, type of activities offered, class size, cleanliness of the rooms, how the school handles discipline, and the overall atmosphere in the classroom and play areas. Ask yourself, "Do these kids look happy and are they learning anything?"
  5. 5
    Drop by the school for a surprise visit to observe the children and instructors. This visit helps confirm that what you saw earlier was a typical day. If the school turns you away, that's not a good sign. It may mean your visit was planned and not an ordinary day.
  6. 6
    Call your local Better Business Bureau, state attorney general and local public health agencies (see Resources). Ask about any legal actions, health investigations or lawsuits against the preschools on your list. Find the contact numbers for these agencies by using the local or online telephone directory for your area.
  7. 7
    Collect a stack of weekly activity calendars and curriculum brochures for the preschools on your list.
  8. 8
    Compare the activities and education curriculum from the calendars and school information sheets, then match these with your preschooler's interests and abilities.


  • Visit the schools in one day. That way you can quickly sort your observations rather than isolated bits of information you remember about your visits.


  • Just because the school has a waiting list doesn't mean it's a great match for your preschooler.

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