Chicago is a great city to grow up in. Parks, friendly neighborhoods, museums, and schools abound. So many preschool choices for families can often make the decision process daunting. Research indicates that well-designed preschool programs will produce long-term improvements in school success, including higher achievement test scores and higher educational attainment.
High-quality preschool programs are determined by a variety of factors. The growth and well-being of each child is the primary consideration. Children are respected and valued for their contributions to the learning process. Teachers take into account the individuality of each child and are attentive to specific strengths and needs of the children in their class. A positive concept of self and school, along with a love of learning are the end goals.
Well-educated, nurturing, experienced, and committed teachers are needed to create child-centered classrooms where learning is achieved through discovery. Teachers must be valued and provided for in a way that echoes the importance placed on their education and expertise. The consistency of such a staff will reflect the learning achieved in each classroom.
Preschool programs that partner with families will see the greatest achievement in child learning. Daily communication between parents and teachers build a strong community among children, families, and staff. The commitment and support that the parents give to the teachers and program reinforce the importance and need of early childhood education.
A clear indicator of a high quality program is a program that achieves and maintains the accreditation standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. To learn more about the principles governing NAEYC please see www.naeyc.org.
Finally, a quality program will be one with an enduring history. A program that has grown, evolved with the city, reflected on the advances in early childhood education, and improved it’s program through reflection and experience is a program that will continue to better its self and the child it teaches.