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Evaluation Checklist for Early Childhood Programs

19 Jan 2023 12:14 AM | Anonymous member

Our annual Preschool Fair is Saturday January 22 from 2-4pm at the Foster City Recreation Center. Thanks to Parents Place for their support of our annual Preschool Fair and for this helpful list of questions for parents looking to choose the best preschool fit for their family.

Physical Environment

  • Does the classroom have a variety of developmental, age-appropriate play materials?
  • Are shelves crowded, or can children clearly see and choose materials?
  • Are there tables or rug space for playing with materials?
  • Does the classroom look warm, inviting, clean, and well-cared for?
  • Are there adequate space and time for group and individual activities?
  • Are the indoor and outdoor play areas big enough for the number of children enrolled?
  • Is there a variety of outdoor play options? (including activities such as gardening, biking, sand, pets, big blocks, painting, water play?) Is there shade?

Interpersonal Environment

  • Are you and your child warmly welcomed?
  • Do the children look happy, calm, and engaged? Does the teacher appear to be as well?
  • Is the environment calm enough that the teacher can observe or participate as needed?
  • Do teachers respect and support children’s differing learning styles and temperaments?
  • Do children feel safe with one another? How are peer conflicts handled?
  • Are teachers using positive forms of redirection and discipline?
  • Are the adults good models for behavior and healthy attitudes? Are there a lot of ‘no’s?
  • Do staff members share the children’s daily experiences with parents? How?


  • Is there a balance of indoor and outdoor play?
  • Are children free to choose their activities?
  • Is there a variety of basic visual art media and opportunities for dramatic play?
  • Is musical play encouraged? Singing, dancing, instruments?
  • Is language stimulation varied? (reading books, indoor/outdoor games)?
  • Is there a quiet, cozy spot for calm play?
  • Are age-appropriate self-help skills encouraged?
  • Are children encouraged (not forced) to participate in circle time?
  • Do teachers have time to read a story to the group and one-on-one daily?


  • Do teachers adapt the schedule to meet children’s needs (more time for art if children are engaged; more outdoor time if needed to work off excess energy)?
  • Are there long periods of time for uninterrupted play and free choice of activities?
  • How are transitions between activities handled? Do teachers allow enough time to transition, and how do they support children who need extra help?

Staff Concerns

  • Is there a high turnover of teachers? What motivates teachers to stay in this early care environment (ongoing professional development, a supportive administration, etc.)?
  • Is the staff knowledgeable about early childhood development and the correlation between play and learning?
  • How much experience, education, and training are required to teach at the school?

Thank you to Parents Place for providing this evaluation checklist.

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