Are there progressive preschools in the area? Actually, it is easier to find progressive practices at the preschool level than at any other level of the education system. Aside from the basics, a parent should look for:
The Fun Factor: Do preschools keep learning experiences fun, which keep the fear-factor down, and which in turn keeps the brain open to learning experiences? Do children have fun in and outside the classroom? The more fun associated with learning, the more progressive.
The Developmentally Appropriate Factor: The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) oversees accreditation of preschools and strongly supports developmentally appropriate programs for young children. Check the website to find out what is developmentally appropriate practice. The more developmentally appropriate, the more progressive.
The Hands-On Factor: Do children have access to playdoh, cornstarch, sand, dirt, water? Safe scissors, tape, tons of paper, paint, crayons? Building blocks, legos, train sets? Do they spend a balanced amount of time between floors and chairs? The more time spent on the floor, the dirtier the children get, the more progressive.
The Other Factor: Are children made aware of the existence of others in their lives, the rest of the world, and all its living inhabitants? Is there an emphasis on collaborative work, solving problems together, conflict resolution, non-violent communication?
The Discipline Factor: When children are disciplined, are they teaching or punishing and humiliating? Does the disciplinary approach match your parenting style? This is a very important question for parents who have adopted a positive parenting point of view.
The Taking-Children-Seriously Factor: Teachers who are well-trained value children for who they are, and have the skills to adapt to different types of learners: talkative learners, quiet ones, bouncy children in a compassionate manner.
The Harmony Factor: Is the place a happy one? Are the teachers, staff, and children learning in harmony? There are problems in all schools, but how do they handle problems?. The more harmony, the more progressive.
Caregivers who have embraced positive parenting and are looking for a progressively-oriented preschool, should take this list, and attend the Preschool Expo in Montrose on Saturday, January 23, 2010, from 3 pm to 5 pm at the La Crescenta Presbyterian Church, 2902 Montrose Avenue in Montrose. The Expo is sponsored by the MOMS Club of the Foothills. Happy hunting!