Guess what? Lots of people already did the research so that you don’t have to. There is a wonderful environment rating scale for both Early Childhood Education Environments as well as School Age Children Environments. You simply have to learn how to use the tool. If you are a parent it may not be practical to be inside the classroom of a potential school for a long assessment as this tool suggests. However, if you read this book and look at the pointers you could jot down some key things that you want to look for in a high-quality program and look for them if you were able to walk through. This tool is based on bundles of research and it is simply marvelous! Schools are not prisons, they are places of learning! How do you do your best learning? The other thing that I would highly recommend asking at an open house is: “How do your educators stay up to date on current research in the field of Early Childhood Education?” or “What type of ongoing professional development do your teachers engage in?” The reason I suggest asking this is because the answer will allow you understand if continued staff training is a priority at the school. While time in the classroom is certainly the best training it is also important that educators continue their own learning and growing as they teach. Also, please look around. Are there books inside the classroom. As technology arrives inside the classroom we are seeing books disappearing. We want our young children to read and be exposed to books. Please make sure your child’s classroom has books in it!
Think about all of things that a kindergarten student needs during the day.
Help resolving conflicts
Educators who are not just “loving”but also skilled with a background in Early Childhood Education
Help joining into a game with friends
A soft place to sit
A few moments alone
A deep breath
A drink of pure water
Time to eat a snack or lunch in a clean place
Supportive people around
And the list goes on. . .