Quality Care for Preschoolers

Quality programs for preschool-age children (typically ages 3-5 years old) facilitate children’s active exploration of the world around them. At this age, a program does not need to place too much emphasis on academic skill development, as children in this age group learn by doing. Activities involving the imagination, such as playing “house” or “store” with all the appropriate learning toys such as tools, cash registers, etc., allow children to explore subject matter in a meaningful and relevant context. Teachers are the guides or facilitators for these experiences, preparing a safe and engaging environment for the child to discover. A quality program will also allow for ample outdoor play, arts and crafts, music, nature/science activities, basic math, and dramatic play. Teachers should also be reading to the children every day.

As with any program, parents should observe the adult-to-child ratios in the child care or preschool setting. State licensing requires centers to maintain a 1:12 adult-to-child ratio for preschool age children (defined as 2-6 year olds). For a Small Family Child Care Home, the maximum number of children cared for, including children under age 10 who live in the home, is one of the following:

  • Four infants, or six children, no more than three of whom may be infants.
  • Six children, or up to eight children when one child is at least six years of age and one child is enrolled in and attending kindergarten or elementary school and no more than two infants are in care. Parent notification and property owner consent must be on file.

For a Large Family Child Care Home, the maximum number of children cared for when there is an assistant provider in the home, including children under age 10 who live in the home, and the assistant provider’s children under age 10, is either:

  • Twelve children, no more than four of whom may be infants, or
  •  Up to 14 children when one child is at least six years of age and one child is enrolled in and attending kindergarten or elementary school, and no more than three infants are in care. Parent notification and property owner consent must be on file State licensing requirements are the minimum requirements.

4Cs has developed a Choosing Preschool Presentation with more information on quality indicators in preschool programs. Our trained counselors are available to give this presentation at your local parent group. Please contact us at (650) 517-1400 for more information.

Our trained referral counselors are available to help you find preschool in your area and answer other questions you may have. Please feel free to contact us at (650) 517-1460, or send us an email to info@sanmateo4Cs.org.