Thursday, July 27th, 2006
Know your State’s Preschool Licensing Standards
A mother in Utah recently researched preschool options for her 3-year-old and was dismayed to learn how little preschools are regulated in her state. Among other things, staff don’t need criminal background checks or CPR certification. Her outrage culminated in a newspaper article, "Mom raises concerns over area preschools."
Despite the name "preschool," such organizations are usually classified as daycare centers, not educational organizations, according to BabyCenter’s article, "What preschool licensing means."
For my daughter, an important quality for a preschool is parental involvement. We want a school which requires moms and dads to volunteer every couple weeks. We’ll know who our daughter is playing with, know the parents, and understand precisely what is being taught. Plus, there is an extra level of accountability among staff when parents are present.
Here are a few key links in beginning preschool research.
- Summary of state-by-state licensing standards
- Full text of state-by-state licensing standards
- A Parent’s Guide to Choosing Child Care (English PDF, English HTML via Google or Spanish HTML) summarizing 13 indicators for quality child care
- Research paper: 13 Indicators of Quality Child Care
- Search for accredited preschools in your area, recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. About 5 percent of U.S. childcare organizations have NAEYC accreditation.
- NAEYC’s accreditation criteria