What To Look for in Day Care Centers and Preschools

Here are some important qualities to look for when considering teachers, classrooms, and instruction.

Teachers:
In quality day car centers and preschools teachers:

  • Keeps a well-run, orderly classroom that also encourages children to participate in and enjoy learning
  • Use many creative ways to  help children learn language and learn the knowledge and skills that will help them become readers

Classrooms:

In quality day care center and preschools, classrooms have:

  • Lots of books and magazine that children can handle and play with
  • Areas for many different activities, such as art, science, housekeeping, writing, and perhaps computers
  • Plenty of print on labels, signs, and posters
  • Writing materials, including paper, pencils, and crayons, and markers
  • Magnetic letters, or letters made from foam, plastic, wood, or other durable materials so children can pretend write and play

Instruction:

In quality day care center and preschools, teachers:

  • Read aloud to children frequently, from many different kinds of books
  • Talk with children throughout the day and listen carefully to what they say
  • Play games such as “Simon Says” and “Mother May I?” that require children to listen carefully
  • Give children opportunities to build their knowledge be exploring their interests and ideas
  • Help children learn the meanings of new words by naming colors, shapes, animals, familiar objects, and parts of the classroom
  • Teach about the sounds of spoken language by reading aloud books with interesting sounds, chanting, and rhyming; by having children say or sing nursery rhymes and songs: and by playing word games
  • Teach children about print by point out and using the print that is all around them
  • Teach the letters of the alphabet
  • Encourage children to scribble, draw, and try to write