Who's Teaching Your Preschooler?

Whether your child is in preschool or will be soon, make sure it's as positive an experience as possible. Here's how to find out what your state's requirements are for preschools and preschool teachers.

Introduction

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As our special report "Preschool Perils" reveals, each year, more than 4.3 million kids ages 3 to 5 attend American preschools on a daily basis. Many of those children get a wonderful early education, but unfortunately, many others do not. While no parent would willingly send his or her child to a substandard school, the fact is that many do, every day, in every part of the United States. Too many preschool teachers in the U.S. are unlicensed, untrained, unqualified, and in the worst cases, even abusive.

So parents have good reason to be very thorough when investigating their children's schools. But standards differ from state to state. How do you know if your child's preschool is abiding by the laws?

We've made it easy to find out with our state-by-state reports, available in the box on this page. To compile these reports, Parents researchers interviewed state officials across the country. Some states have different standards that apply to public preschools, private preschools, and preschools with religious affiliations. In those cases, separate interviews were conducted with the appropriate officials. Be sure to scroll all the way through your state's report to see if it is divided into different sections devoted to various kinds of preschools. Some state's reports have multiple sections, while other states have only one that covers all kinds of preschools.

To see the reports, you'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader. Most computers have this simple program, but if yours doesn't, you can get a free download at www.adobe.com

American kids deserve better! Write to your elected representatives and urge them to uphold and enforce preschool standards.

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