What Is High Quality?
When you walk into a high-quality pre-K classroom you immediately see learning occurring. The following elements are critical to providing the sense of purpose, organization, and excitement that creates the best results for children.
- Teachers in high-quality pre-k programs hold bachelor's degrees and have received specialized training in early childhood education.
- Teacher aides have a child development associate credential, at a minimum.
- Teachers and aides are required to devote at least 15 hours each year to appropriate professional development.
- Teachers and aides are paid salaries and receive benefits that are on par with those of K-12 teachers and aides.
- High-quality programs recruit teachers and aides who reflect the cultural diversity of the children and families they serve.
- High-quality programs respect and support each family's home language and at-home teaching efforts.
- Family members and teachers exchange information about the child's strengths and successes, favorite activities, and learning progress.
- Family members are engaged in the program through conferences with teachers, home visits, opportunities to assist in the classroom, and other activities.
- Family members are offered information about nutrition, parenting, and social services, when needed.
- High-quality pre-k programs allow no more than 20 children in a classroom.
- Each class has no more than ten children for every one teacher.
- A high-quality pre-k curriculum sets goals specific to pre-k and uses learning and developmental standards that are research-based, age-appropriate, and aligned with the state's K-12 standards.
- The curriculum builds on each child's interests and natural curiosity and gives children opportunities to direct their own learning.
- The curriculum provides daily learning opportunities for language and reasoning, science, math, block play, dramatic play, art, and music.
- The curriculum provides learning opportunities in a variety of settings, including whole-class activities, work in small groups, and individual interactions with the teacher.
- The curriculum supports the development of each child's home language and helps each child learn English.
- The curriculum provides integrated learning across children's cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development.
- High-quality pre-k programs provide vision, hearing, and general-health screenings in order to identify children's special needs early and make appropriate referrals.
- Children are offered breakfast and/or lunch and a time to nap.
- All children, including those with disabilities or special behavioral needs, are provided with appropriate supports and services.