Preschool Prerequisites

From teacher turnover to classroom space, find out the factors that earn preschools accreditation.

Accreditation: What's it all about?

The National Association for the Education of Young Children certifies more than 8,000 preschools nationwide. Though certification is not mandatory for preschools, it does represent a reference point, a sort of Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. (While the NAEYC doesn't favor a specific philosophy, it does advocate developmental learning over rote academics.)

Preschools must request evaluations, paying from $575 to $1,250 depending on the size of the school for the application and assessment, which must be conducted every three years to remain valid. Factors the NAEYC considers include:

Teacher/child ratio: 1:4 for infants, 1:10 for three- to five-year-olds, 1:12 for kindergartners

Number of children per room: No more than eight infants or 20 pre-schoolers

Adequate space: 35 square feet per child indoors and 75 square feet outside, though exceptions are made for urban programs

Teacher training: NAEYC prefers that teachers have at least an associate's degree in early childhood education

Teacher turnover: Though there are no specific requirements, the organization tries to make sure its schools do better than the national average turnover rate of 40%.

When it comes to choosing the right preschool, it is important to do your research. The right school will set your kid up for success and keep her safe and happy.

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