Five Questions to Ask on Early Childhood & Preschool Programs

  1. Whom does this program serve? Understand the target audience for a particular program—disadvantaged children, those with special needs, middle-class families, etc.
  2. How is the program funded and what partners/agencies are involved? Early childhood programs are often collaborative efforts involving public and private dollars.
  3. What is the philosophy/curriculum of the program? Does it follow a Montessori model or direct instruction, for example? Many classrooms use a mix of methods and materials to achieve their goals.
  4. What level of training does the program require of teachers? Debate continues over whether a bachelor’s degree is necessary for preschool teachers, but the field has generally moved toward more education and specific training in child development.
  5. What does the program do to help children and their parents make the transition from one program to the next—from a toddler program into preschool? From preschool into kindergarten?