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Your Child’s First Classroom: Tips on how to choose a quality preschool

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From learning their ABCs to making friends, children learn so much during their first five years of life. At First 5, we understand that when it is time to enroll a child in a preschool program, parents have the important job of finding a place that will continue to nurture their child’s development. Choosing the right program will pay off in the long run: research shows that children who attend quality preschools have greater success in school and life.   So how do you find a program that is a good fit for your child?

Here are some tips:

•Start early! It’s a good idea to start your search up to a year before you want your child to start, this will give you time to evaluate different programs.

•Keep an open mind.  There are many options for you – family child care, centers, half-day, full-day, and all will provide something unique.

•Make sure the program is licensed – ask to see the state license to be sure it meets the health and safety regulations.

•Learn about teachers’ educational background. They should have specialized training and degrees in early childhood education or child development.

•Ask about the school’s teacher/child ratio. The National Association for the Education of Young Children recommends one adult for every 10 children, which means more individual attention for your child.

•Look for a program that will partner with you as a parent to help strengthen your child’s ability to learn.

•Ask if the program is accredited – accreditation is the highest level of quality and a high priority in Santa Barbara County.  Programs that participate in quality improvement efforts support children’s development and readiness for school.

During their early years, children develop quickly as they expand their knowledge about the world around them and learn how to interact with others. Making sure your child is enrolled in a program that provides a solid foundation which will help prepare her or him for success in kindergarten and in life.

For more information about Quality Child Care in Santa Barbara County contact us at First 5 (805)739-8740

You can find more information on the Quality Child Care website, created with our partners at the Santa Barbara County Child Care Planning Council.

http://sbceo.org/~ccpc/qualitychildcare/parents_families.html

November 9, 2014

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