3 Trends To Look For When Evaluating Preschool Programs

Preschool has changed a lot over the years. At one time, most preschools were expected to be similar to daycare centers – in other words, mostly a safe place for parents to drop off kids too young for K-12 schools to let them play and socialize, but with some kindergarten preparation thrown in. However, as time went on, preschools have come to offer much more academic experiences. With kindergarten academic standards on the rise as well, choosing a preschool that will give your child an advantage in their academic life has become serious business. Take a look at some trends in preschool programs to look for when you're evaluating preschool programs for your child.

Use of Emergent Curriculums

Not only has preschool changed, but the concept of teaching has also changed over the years. Experienced early childhood education teachers know that the model of a teacher standing in front of the class and lecturing tends not to be effective with preschoolers, and new curriculums are being created with children's developmental needs in mind.

Many preschools have adopted emergent curriculums. These are curriculums that are created around the interests of children in the classroom. Teachers observe their classrooms and create activities that are based on the interests that children display while playing. This means that the curriculum is very flexible, and two different preschool classrooms in the same school might look very different, depending on the interests of the students in each classrooms. Many experts believe that this type of learning is better for children's development.

Teachers With Bachelor's Degrees

As preschool becomes more academic and more vital to student success in later grades, it becomes more important to have highly-trained teachers. As a result, more and more schools are hiring early education teachers with bachelor's degrees, while in the past, more preschool teachers were hired with only an associate's degree, a certification, or a high school diploma.

Federal programs like Head Start have been looking to raise preschool educational standards by requiring more teachers to have bachelor's degrees. Many private preschools have followed suit. When you're considering preschool programs, make sure to ask how many teachers at the school have bachelor's degrees.

A Strong Stance on Technology

Like everyone else, early education professionals are struggling to find a balance between the positive benefits and possible negative effects of the fast-changing digital technology available today. While some teachers, parents, and experts worry about the negative aspects of too much screen time for small children, others note that because digital technology has become a part of daily life for most of the population, getting an early start with it is helpful for future success. There are valid points on both sides of the argument.

As digital devices become more affordable and accessible, many preschools have taken a strong stance on the use of technology. There are schools that avoid most or all use of computers and devices in favor of more traditional classroom activities, as well as schools that incorporate technology as much as possible, making use of a slew of educational programs designed for computers and tablets. There are also preschool directors who feel strongly that there must be a middle ground, where preschoolers learn to use technology without allowing the technology to take over school activities completely. Look for the presence or absence of computers, tablets, and other technology in the preschool classrooms you're considering, and determine whether the school's stance on the use of computerized devices is a good fit with your feelings about screen time for your child.

There are many things to consider when choosing a preschool. Being aware of the current trends in early childhood education can help you determine which school in your area is right for you.