Wonder about your child’s preschool and how they teach your child? The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) developed specific guidelines for the teaching of young children in 1997. According to them, teachers should develop their lesson plans based on three dimensions, a) what we know about child development and learning, b) what is known about the individual child as well as the group, and c) what we know about cultural and social contexts in reference to the group. Considering the improvement of preschool education, a national voluntary accreditation system was developed by the said organization. Of course, when a preschool proves to parents that they are nationally accredited that is good news as far as criteria. The reason for this is that children in less developmentally appropriate programs show higher levels of stress (Aldridge, 2007). The students placed in inappropriate preschool programs do not fare as well academically once they get to elementary school. The children in appropriate programs tend to fare better behaviorally than others once they attend elementary school. They also fare better on measures of work-study habits. They tend to engage in more pro-social habits. A generalization was made in 1998 that generally, they fared better on the California achievement test (Aldridge, 2007). How does developmentally appropriate practice impact children in the classroom? Most teachers, who ascribe to this practice, also ascribe to a child’s physical, social, emotional and cognitive development. As a parent of a preschool child, a consumer would want to know that teachers take these areas into consideration in the classroom. Consumers should always visit the school on site before making a decision. Teachers, who take children’s developmental needs into consideration, would want to assess the students’ prior knowledge on any theme undertaken. Other issues at stake are hands on activities, also known as interactive learning as well as movement. These actions are believed to enhance optimal brain activity. Children construct their learning through interacting with the environment (Aldridge, 2007,). A project approach is also thought to augment learning topics in depth. This relates to learning centers within the classroom in many different areas: dramatic play, blocks, music, art and cooking can all be developed in lieu of a particular theme. Studying a topic in depth is considered much more profitable than many topics which are fragmented with fewer opportunities to learn. A teacher who takes children’s’ developmental needs into consideration will give children many opportunities to play in different ways. A comprehensive program will work in concert with families as well. Parents are important co-creators of children’s learning at home. Checking out all these factors before putting down tuition dollars is important. Remember you will want a good fit between the school where your child will spend part of some or each day. One last note, a good preschool teacher develops a feeling of mutual caring and safety for her students. She will be tuned into their needs and be a good listener as well. A good teacher at this level is also a nurturer while being firm in helping develop pro-social behaviors. If these important components were ignored, the emotional stability of children might be at risk. It can also affect experiences in schooling for many years afterward. A positive preschool experience can provide a strong foundation for further learning. References: Aldridge, J. (2007) Current Trends in Education, 7th Edition, Chapter 7: Boston: Pearson Education National Association for Education of Young Children (NAEYC) (1996): Technology and Young Children – Ages 3 through 8.