There are 10 elements anyone wishing to create a high-quality preschool program needs to include, according to a recent report from the Learning Policy Institute, a think tank based in Palo Alto, California.*
Most of the elements listed in the policy brief are not brand-new ideas. But the brief does condense nearly a decade of research (the studies in the citations stretch back to at least 2007) into a pretty clear list that could be useful for the many private and public organizations attempting to build new, quality preschool programs that better prepare children for kindergarten and life.
Here’s the brief’s list, in brief:
- Comprehensive early-learning standards and curricula.
- Appropriate assessments that measure a child’s academic, social-emotional and physical progress.
- Professional knowledge and skills [among teachers and staff.]
- Ongoing support for teachers.
- Support for diverse learners [like English-language learners and special needs students].
- Meaningful family engagement.
- Sufficient time [in the classroom].
- Small class sizes with low student-teacher ratios.
- Comprehensive program assessments.
- Quality rating and improvement systems.
Essentially, well-trained teachers who get the support they need are great for kids. As are programs that engage families, provide full-day classes and have a clear structure for review and improvement.
If you’re interested, go ahead and read the full report, released Feb. 29.
*Update: This post has been updated to reflect the Learning Policy Institute’s location in Palo Alto, California.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.