5 Signs of a Great Preschool

With many factors such as location, price and availability, parents are often unaware about what matters when examining a future preschool. No matter the geographic area or philosophy of the center, these characteristics are essential for choosing a great daycare.

Classroom Design and Environment

A classroom must be conducive to learning. The environment should feel comforting and friendly. The room should be organized into focus areas called centers. 

Here is what you will be able to see in a great preschool environment.

  • Building toys
  • Books
  • Props and costumes
  • Art supplies
  • Children’s art displayed throughout the room
  • Age appropriate materials
  • Low shelving with accessible materials
  • Appropriately sized chairs and tables
  • Clearly organized areas

What you should ask.

  • How much time do children spend doing free play?
  • Do children decide what centers they will use?
  • Ask for a daily schedule.


Quality instructors are essential, they role model, guide academic growth and teach children to understand and address their emotions.

Teachers’ behaviors to look for

  • Vigilance
  • Crouching at eye level with children
  • Asking open ended questions
  • Repeating students’ feelings back to them
  • Giving students suggestions and confidence to solve disputes
  • Look for children to show affection and endearment to the teachers

What you should ask.
What is your philosophy?
What qualifications do the teachers have?
Ask teachers what they love about teaching.
Ask about the turnover rate.
How are parents involved in the curriculum?
What can parents do to support what you are doing in class?

Social emotional development and discipline
Preschool should help children understand their emotions and interact with their peers.

What to look for

  • Graph and pictures on the walls to help identify feelings and emotions.
  • Quiet areas in the classrooms so children who are upset can relax.
  • Correct use of short time-outs
  • Teachers are calm and do not raise voices

What you should ask
How do you deal with children’s emotions?
What do you do when children bite or hit each other?
How do you communicate with families about behavior?

Children should learn essentials skills in social studies, reading, science and math.

What to look for in children’s activities

  • Story telling
  • Explaining and creating patterns
  • Playing with building materials
  • Playing with puzzles
  • Teachers encourage children to explore ideas further
  • Teachers prompting students to make predictions

What you should ask

  • What type of curriculum does your program use?
  • What are the academic goals for your child?
  • How does the center track how well the child is learning?
  • How will you keep parents informed whether or not a child is on track?

A daycare should be an environment with no physical risks

What to look for.

  • No open bodies of water
  • All furniture secured to walls
  • Chemicals store, cords out of reach
  • Safe and secure process of pickup and drop off
  • Fire safety certifications

What you can ask

  • What emergency systems are in place?
  • What is your medication policy?
  • Does all the staff comply with state background checks and regulations?