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Early Childhood Center
Early Childhood Center
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Choosing an Early Childhood Program

What should you look for in a good early childhood program?

Professionals in early childhood education and child development have found several indicators of good quality care for preschool children. You will especially want to meet the adults who will care for your child--they are responsible for every aspect of the program's operation.

Who will care for your child?

  • The adults enjoy and understand how young children learn and grow.
  • The staff view themselves positively and therefore can continually foster children's emotional and social development.
  • There are enough adults to work with a group and to care for the individual needs of children.
  • All staff members work together cooperatively.
  • Staff observe and record each child's progress and development.

What program activities and equipment are offered?

  • The environment fosters the growth and development of young children working and playing together.

  • A good center provides appropriate and sufficient equipment and play materials and makes them readily available.

  • Children are helped to increase their language skills and to expand their understanding of the world.

How do the staff relate to your family and the community?

  • A good program considers and supports the needs of the entire family.
  • Staff in a good center are aware of and contribute to community resources.

Are the facility and program designed to meet the varied demands of young children, their families, and the staff?

  • The health of children, staff, and parents is protected and promoted.
  • The facility is safe for all children and adults.
  • The environment is spacious enough to accommodate a variety of activities and equipment.

The recommendations noted above were taken from the brochure "How to Choose a Good Early Childhood Program" published by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). For further information about how to select a good program, consult the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (your state licensing agency), Children's Home & Aid Society of Illinois Child Care Resource and Referral agency serving Southwestern Illinois or contact NAEYC at:

1509 16th Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20036-1426
(202) 232-8777
(800) 424-2460
FAX (202) 328-1846

For comprehensive child care information, subsidy and referral services in your area call Children's Home and Society of Illinois (CHASI) Child Care Resource and Referral Network at:


(800) 467-9200.