The Hechinger Report is a national nonprofit newsroom that reports on one topic: education. Sign up for our weekly newsletters to get stories like this delivered directly to your inbox.

Here are some things to look for in a preschool program:

•    Teachers have four-year degrees and specific training in early childhood education

•    Teachers provide actual instruction, not just comfort and nurture

•    Teacher-to-child ratios of 1 to 3 for infants and 1 to 10 for preschoolers

•    No more than eight infants and toddlers and no more than 20 preschoolers in a single classroom

Photograph courtesy of Pre-K Now.

•    Teachers crouch to eye level to speak with children, and teachers hold, cuddle, show affection to and speak directly with infants and toddlers

•    Teacher and family exchange information about a child’s development and learning progress

•    Sufficient materials and toys, accessible to children in an orderly display and at their eye-level

•    Centers that have space for safe outdoor activities

•    Frequent hand-washing by children and adults

•    Visitors welcomed with appropriate parental consent

•    Stimulating activities and structured routines

•    Children appear enthusiastic to participate in activities

•    Children are offered breakfast and lunch, as well as time to nap

•    Children participate with teachers and one another in individual, small-group and large-group activities

•    Children spend time in indoor and outdoor spaces, and engage in language, literacy, math, science, art, music, movement and dramatic play experiences.

•    Preschoolers are allowed to play independently

Adapted from recommendations made by the First Five Years Fund

The Hechinger Report provides in-depth, fact-based, unbiased reporting on education that is free to all readers. But that doesn't mean it's free to produce. Our work keeps educators and the public informed about pressing issues at schools and on campuses throughout the country. We tell the whole story, even when the details are inconvenient. Help us keep doing that.

Join us today.

Letters to the Editor

At The Hechinger Report, we publish thoughtful letters from readers that contribute to the ongoing discussion about the education topics we cover. Please read our guidelines for more information.

By submitting your name, you grant us permission to publish it with your letter. We will never publish your email. You must fill out all fields to submit a letter.

Your email address will not be published.