10 Signs of a Daycare with a Great Preschool Program

Standalone preschool programs provide young children with essential early childhood education, but may only run for part of the day, which can present a problem for working parents who also need full-time childcare. When there’s more than one child in the family, even full-day preschool programs create the need for multiple stops if there are no daycare facilities for younger children. For many parents, a daycare which also features a preschool program can solve several problems at once, but it’s only truly effective if children are receiving the preschool attention they need in order to thrive. Choosing a daycare with a great preschool program is important, but doing so can be a complicated task for parents who aren’t sure what they should be looking for in a quality program.

  1. Emphasis on Pre-Reading Skills – Exploratory play and socialization are crucial for developing young minds, but other skills will need to be developed along the way in order to ensure kindergarten readiness. One of these skills is pre-reading comprehension. Parents should make a point of determining whether or not pre-reading is an emphasized aspect of the preschool curriculum in any daycare.

  2. Certified Teachers – In a daycare setting, room supervisors and aides are not typically required to hold a college degree. Preschool teachers, however, should be certified and compliant with all state licensing requirements.

  3. Small Class Sizes – Most state agencies which regulate child care businesses will have pre-defined guidelines for acceptable child-to-teacher ratios in any daycare setting, but a great preschool program will maintain small class sizes in order to ensure that all children have access to one-on-one attention during classroom time.

  4. Minimal Screen Time – The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends very little television for young children, even educational videos and programming. A daycare center with a strong preschool program will not be reliant upon televised programming or screen time for young children, instead fostering hands-on learning experiences.

  5. Waiting Lists – Because small class sizes are such an important part of a high-quality preschool program, many high-end preschool programs will also have a waiting list due to their strong community reputation. Maintaining a waiting list instead of over-crowding preschool classes may also indicate a greater commitment to high-quality education than expanding revenue.

  6. Current Licensing – Not all child care centers and daycare businesses are required to hold current licensing. Depending upon the regulations unique to each state, some programs may be exempt from these requirements and governmental oversight. For very small programs, a lack of licensing may not necessarily indicate a lower quality of education, but great preschool programs will obtain accreditation through a reputable organization to demonstrate a commitment to quality.

  7. Dedication to Health and Safety – One aspect of any daycare center and preschool program which should be considered non-negotiable is a focus on providing healthy, safe environments for children. Visibly damaged equipment, unhygienic conditions and poor habits regarding cleanliness can indicate a lackluster program.

  8. Strict Sick-Child Policies – While a sick-child policy can create an inconvenience for working parents, it also helps to keep children healthy and limit their exposure to common illnesses. Parents should make a point of examining sick-child policies carefully to ensure their children will not be needlessly exposed to contagious classmates, or left to expose their friends to illnesses.

  9. An Open-Door Policy – A daycare with a great preschool program will usually be very welcoming to parents who wish to visit their children during the day, or volunteer whenever feasible. Restrictive policies can indicate a reluctance to let parents get a first-hand look at the program, and could signal a lower emphasis on quality than advertised.

  10. Healthy Meal Plans – Children in daycare centers and preschool programs alike are forming dietary habits which will inform their attitude toward food throughout their lives. It’s important for a great preschool program to emphasize healthy food choices by providing high-quality meals. A menu full of convenience food and processed, sugary snacks should be considered a red flag.

Choosing a daycare center with a high-quality preschool program is and important parenting task. Daycare administrators and directors who offer preschool programming should strive to provide these services, while welcoming parents to ask questions and establishing an open line of communication.

4 thoughts on “10 Signs of a Daycare with a Great Preschool Program


    1. Hi, My name is Tricia, Thank you for coming in to Kids Time Learning Academy. Please let me give you a list of some helpful agents that we work with that may be able to help you.

  2. Hi. We are relocating to Alabama and I was wondering how long is your waiting list and do you have programs for children of low income? THank you!

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